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1. Poison Clan Rapper vs. Record Label
Highest Court Eleventh Circuit
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs Band Member(s)
Defendants Individual(s)
Lil' Joe Records
Music Publisher(s)
Other 2 Live Crew
Luke Records
Poison Clan
Short Description Band sued Luke Records after it went bankrupt and was unable to fulfill its contracts with Plaintiff. Judgment for Defendant. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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2. 2 Live Crew vs. 50 Cent
Highest Court Eleventh Circuit
Year Ended 2007
Plaintiffs Lil' Joe Wein Music, Inc.
Defendants 50 Cent
Interscope Records
Shady Records
Universal Music Group
Other 2 Live Crew
Short Description The copyright holder of 2 Live Crew's song "It's Your Birthday" sued 50 Cent and his record company for copyright infringement for the use of the phrase "Go____, it's Your Birthday" in his hit song "In Da Club," which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Court granted judgment for 50 Cent, holding that the use of the disputed phrase is a common hip hop chant, and was therefore not an original copyrightable element of a song. - SKR


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3. "The Man" vs. 2 Live Crew (IV)
Highest Court Fifth Circuit
Year Ended 2004
Plaintiffs 2 Live Crew
Concert Attendee(s)
Promoter(s)
Defendants County Entity and/or Official(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Rap group members, individual concert-goers, and concert promoters sued a sheriff's department for violation of First, Fourth, and Fourteenth amendment rights when the sheriffs set up road blocks and checkpoints outside of a concert planned in Mississippi. The court granted qualified immunity to the sheriffs on some, but not all of the constitutional claims. While several opening acts are reported to have performed, 2 Live Crew did not perform at the Mississippi concert. - SKR


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4. "The Man" vs. 2 Live Crew (III)
Highest Court Superior Court of Connecticut
Year Ended 1995
Plaintiffs Music Promoter(s)
Defendants State Entity and/or Official(s)
Other 2 Live Crew
Short Description According to state statute, promoters of 2 Live Crew concert were required to have police officers present at an upcoming concert in Connecticut. Officers were indeed present at the concert, and the promoters received a bill for approximately $2,000 a month later. The court held that the statute requiring payment for police services by the promoters was constitutional under the First Amendment. - SKR


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5. 2 Live Crew's "Pretty Woman" Parody
Highest Court Supreme Court of the United States
Year Ended 1992
Plaintiffs Acuff-Rose Music
Defendants 2 Live Crew
Luke Records
Other Orbison, Roy
Short Description Acuff-Rose Music, once a prominent country music publishing firm, brought a copyright infringement suit against 2 Live Crew for their song "Pretty Woman." The U.S. Supreme Court found "Pretty Woman" to be a successful parody that made fair use of Roy Orbison's original rock ballad "Oh, Pretty Woman," and was thus protected by the First Amendment, despite the commercial nature of the parody and the fact that 2 Live Crew copied the first line of lyrics, as well as the opening bassline, from the original. Because the original song was used by 2 Live Crew to mock the original song itself (not something else), it is considered "parody," and not merely "satire," which would not receive similar protection. - SKR (ed. LSW)


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6. Herman Kelly vs. 2 Live Crew
Highest Court Sixth Circuit
Year Ended 1991
Plaintiffs Kelly, Herman (and Life)
Defendants 2 Live Crew
Luke Records
Music Publisher(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description 2 Live Crew has, indeed, sampled the Plaintiff, Herman Kelly, the late-1970s funkster whose song "Dance to the Drummer's Beat" was also sampled by innumerable other artists over the years. In fact, the Crew certainly sampled the song in this case too. However, Kelly tends to bring lawsuits against--as is the case here--people holding legitimate licenses and things. Indeed, 2 Live Crew received permission to use Kelly's infamous drum track for their song "Throw The D," which was the subject of this suit. Since Defendants had permission, Kelly's suit is, you know, completely pointless. - LSW


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7. "The Man" vs. 2 Live Crew (I)
Highest Court Eleventh Circuit
Year Ended 1990
Plaintiffs 2 Live Crew
Luke Records
Defendants County Entity and/or Official(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description A Broward County sheriff found probable cause that 2 Live Crew's third album, Nasty as They Wanna Be, was obscene, and arrested a black retailer for selling the album. The rap group sued the county for restraint and First Amendment protection, but were subsequently arrested for performing the song in a Florida nightclub. The court reversed the lower court's obscenity ruling, finding that the sheriff failed to apply the Supreme Court's obscenity standard in Miller v. California. The court was unwilling to concede that the last prong of the Miller test, which requires determination of whether a work "lacks serious artistic, scientific, literary or political value," was met in this case. - SKR & LSW


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8. "The Man" vs. 2 Live Crew (II)
Highest Court D. Rhode Island
Year Ended 1990
Plaintiffs Music Promoter(s)
Defendants Municipal Entity and/or Official(s)
Other 2 Live Crew
Short Description A Town Council learned of 2 Live Crew's reputation and attempted to prevent a planned concert in Rhode Island by revoking the promoter's entertainment licenses under town ordinances. The court granted the promoters a preliminary injunction, preventing the town council from holding a hearing to consider revocation of the promoters' entertainment license. - SKR


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9. Luke Campbell's Bankruptcy
Highest Court S.D. Florida
Year Ended 1985
Plaintiffs Band Member(s)
Defendants No Defendants on file
Other 2 Live Crew
Luke Records
Mother of Child of Artist(s)
Short Description During the process of filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, the former leader of the rap group 2 Live Crew sought a stay of child support and paternity proceedings against him. The court held that the automatic stay provision of a bankruptcy statute did not apply to the paternity and child support proceedings. - SKR


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