George Clinton sues the Black Eyed Peas
Funk legend George Clinton has filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against the popular musical group the Black Eyed Peas. The suit names all of the members of the band, accusing them of wrongfully sampling from his 1979 song “(Not Just) Knee Deep”. Clinton claims that his signature was forged to illegally clear a sample for two of the Black Eyed Peas’ tracks produced by group member Will.i.am. The tracks are remixes of their hit song “Shut Up”. Clinton is seeking $150,000 for each infringement, and an injunction prohibiting further distribution of the infringing songs. The case was filed on December 10, in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
The leader of the 1970s funk mega-group Parliament-Funkadelic has been sampled from many times by various hip-hop artists in the past, but usually through legal clearance. Clinton claims that he specifically denied permission for the band to sample his song when approached by the band’s producer. This is not the first time that the Black Eyed Peas have been accused of copyright infringement recently. In October, two other lawsuits were brought against them in relation to their hits “I Gotta Feeling” and “Boom Boom Pow”.
After listening to all three of the songs, it becomes quite obvious that the Black Eyed Peas sampled Clinton’s song. The question of liability will likely hinge on whether or not the group actually received permission to use the sample. The situation does not appear good for the Black Eyed Peas, as Clinton is not new to the field of copyright law and disputes. He has negotiated with many other artists for the use of his songs. The presence of the two other ongoing lawsuits also calls into question the integrity of the group even more.
For more on this developing story see “George Clinton Suing Black Eyed Peas For, Surprise, Stealing His Music” by Andrew Winistorfer