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1. Lil' Wayne's Co-Author Sues
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Banner, David
Deezle
Royalty Collector(s)
Defendants Film Distributor(s)
Film Studio(s)
Video/DVD Distributor(s)
Other Lil' Wayne
Short Description Plaintiffs include two hip-hop songwriters and producers, David Banner and Deezle, both of whom have worked, at various times, with Dwayne Carter, better known as Lil' Wayne. This lawsuit stemmed from a concert Lil' performed to be released as a film and DVD, called "The Carter." Lil' granted to Defendants the rights to use various songs he co-authored with Plaintiffs, for reproduction in the film and associated merchandise. Plaintiffs sued, alleging Lil's company, Young Money Entertainment, had no power to grant the licenses to the songs, because it was a not a copyright co-owner; the company listed on the copyright registration was Young Money Publishing. If Young Money did not have the ability to grant a license, Defendants' film infringed Plaintiffs' rights. However, held the court, the different Young Money entities were all companies through which Lil' Wayne himself acted, and Wayne could validly grant a license if he saw fit. Thus, Defendants had valid license. While Plaintiffs were most likely owed royalties from the production, this was a not an issue in the instant suit, which alleged infringement, not royalty nonpayment. Based on the facts before the court, Defendants' summary judgment was granted. - LSW


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2. Producer: "Everyone Ripped Me Off!"
Highest Court D. District of Columbia
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Music Producer(s)
Music Retailer(s)
Defendants 50 Cent
Atlantic Records
Atlantic Records
Baby/Birdman
Banks, Lloyd
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Brandy
Cash Money Records
Dash, Damon
Def Jam Music Group
Ertegun, Ahmet
Fat Joe
G-Unit
Individual(s)
Interscope Records
Jay-Z
Juvenile
Legend, John
Lil' Wayne
Ludacris
MTV Networks
Paramount Pictures
Professional Athlete(s)
Reid, L.A.
Rock-A-Fella Records
T.I.
Talent Agent(s)
Turner, Ted
UMG Records
Universal Music Group
VH-1
Viacom
Warner Music Group
Warner-Chappell Music
West, Kanye
Ying Yang Twins
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Plaintiff sued 45 industry defendants, including 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Fat Joe, and others for copyright infringement of songs he had sent to the labels for review. The Plaintiff had previously bought an educational CD made by a division of Universal, which explained how to succeed in music. After failing to serve most of the defendants, the defendant continued to file "baseless motions" and disregarded the Court's order to submit the list of infringed works as well as CDs containing his stolen music. The Court explained how copyright law works, dissecting the amateurish arguments of the Defendant. Essentially, every alleged theft was based on unprotectible elements, i.e. his "stolen song" and the defendant's song would both be about upset, urban young males. This was the case for every one of the fourteen songs. - JMC


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3. Lil Wayne Unhappy with Quincy's Film
Highest Court California Court of Appeal
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Business Entity of Artist(s)
Lil' Wayne
Defendants Film Producer(s)
Jones, Quincy
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description This case involved a dispute regarding an agreement between Lil' Wayne and Defendant to produce a 90-minute biographical film about Lil' Wayne's life. Lil' Wayne argued that Defendant breached a provision in the contract granting him "a sole right of final approval" for scenes that might depict him engaged in criminal behavior, or that might adversely affect his pending gun possession and drug possession cases in New York and Arizona, respectively. The Defendant allegedly breached this provision by including a scene in the film depicting Lil' Wayne engaging in criminal activity by "misusing medication," despite Lil Wayne's objections to that scene's inclusion in the film. Lil' Wayne sought a preliminary injunction against Defendant, but the contract that he signed contained an anti-injunction provision. Despite Lil' Wayne's argument that the anti-injunction provision is unconscionable since Defendant refused to negotiate it, the Court enforced the provision, denying Lil' Wayne an injunction. Judgment for Defendant. - SKR


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4. Lil' Wayne's Sampling Karma
Highest Court E.D. Louisiana
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Music Publisher(s)
Defendants Lil' Wayne
Other Henry Ate
Swanepoel, Karma Ann
Short Description Plaintiff is the publisher for Karma Ann Swanepoel, songwriter for the South African band, Henry Ate, who sued Lil' Wayne for sampling the band on a track released for free on the internet. Lil's song was intended to to "create buzz" in anticipation of Lil's upcoming album, "Tha Carter III." After the album was released (which did not contain the infringing song), Plaintiff sued and sought discovery documents relating to the album's gross revenue, under a theory of "indirect profits," seeing as the song was accessed by over 16 million people online. According to the court, the case was in its "infancy," and Plaintiff had shown a sufficient nexus between the pre-album song and the later-released album such that the document requests were reasonable. Defendant had presumably benefitted from the infringing song through album sales, and the court granted Plaintiff's motion to compel. - LSW


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5. Bonkers Plaintiff vs. Beyonce
Highest Court District of Columbia Circuit
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Mentally Unstable Individual(s)
Defendants Beyonc?
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Jay-Z
Lil' Wayne
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Wacko Plaintiff claimed to be Beyonce, as well as the wife of Lil' Wayne and Jay-Z (purportedly the same person), and argued that he (a.k.a. Lil' Wayne/Jay-Z) conspired to steal her creative thoughts, lyrics, and dance moves. Plaintiff literally sued for $1 trillion in damages. The court, surprisingly, threw out Plaintiff's claim, although the court was mindful that Plaintiff was a pro se litigant that could not find a lawyer willing to take her $1 trillion case. - LSW & SKR


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