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1. No Name vs. 50, Game, Dre., Etc.
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Songwriter(s)
Defendants Black Wall Street Records
Game (The)
Interscope Records
Music Publisher(s)
UMG Records
Universal Music Group
Warner-Chappell Music
Other 50 Cent
Che Pope
Dr. Dre
Mike Elizondo
The Madd Rapper
Short Description Anyone who has perused this website for any length of time will probably be aware of how common it is in the hip-hop industry for "demo tape Plaintiffs" (as The Discography likes to call them) to sue artists, record labels, publishers (everyone involved in production of a rap song) for copying songs Plaintiffs sent in or, perhaps, played once or twice for one of the many people involved in writing, recording, and releasing some uber-popular urban hit. In this case, Plaintiffs wrote a song called "Elevator" in 2002, which contained the hook "This Is How We Do." The song was recorded but never released, distributed, or provided to the public in any way. It was, however, included on a demo tape the Plaintiffs used to shop for a record deal, which they purportedly played for some people in the industry. When Jayceon Taylor, a.k.a., The Game, released a song called "This Is How We Do," co-written by 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, and Mike Elizondo, Plaintiffs sued for copyright infringement. In arguing their case, they pointed out that, as an employee of Sam Ash Music, one of the Plaintiffs had met Che Pope, a producer who has previously worked with Fitty, Dre, Game, and others on different songs. Pope was allegedly a regular customer, and Plaintiffs played their songs for him at the store; Pope, however, does not remember meeting them. Based on these facts, the court refused Defendants' motions for summary judgment. The court found that Plaintiffs had alleged facts sufficient to raise the question of whether Defendants had access, through their connection with Pope, to Plaintiff's "Elevator." Further, both sides presented expert musicologist witnesses (Defendants' was Dr. Lawrence Ferrara, a common expert for industry parties) regarding the similarity of the songs and how common the similar elements were in the industry. Summary judgments denied. - 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. Indian Song Sampled by The Game
Highest Court S.D. Florida
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Record Label(s)
Defendants 50 Cent
Aftermath Records
G-Unit
Interscope Records
Timbaland
Universal Music Group
Warner Bros. Music
Other Game (The)
Short Description Plaintiffs purport to own copyrights to a 1967 Indian song "Baghon Mein Bahar Hai," from the 1969 Indian film, "Aradhana," and allege that Defendants, The Game, his publisher, and record label, sampled a snippet from the song (a barely-audible "na na na" sung by the female lead). While the court found the song did indeed sample Plaintiff's recording, Plaintiff could not show ownership of the copyrights, and regardless, Defendant's use was so short, and the final song sounded so completely different from the sample recording, the court held for Defendants. - LSW


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4. 50 Cent Polices his Trademarks
Highest Court S.D. Florida
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs 50 Cent
Defendants Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Other G-Unit
Short Description 50 Cent sued the owners of a nightclub in Cancun, Mexico, for using his image and likeness and the G-Unit mark (commonly used on 50 Cent's merchandise) to advertise, promote, endorse, and draw attention to the nightclub. The Court dismissed Defendant nightclub owners' motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter and personal jurisdiction, as well as Defendant's motion for forum non conveniens. - SKR


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5. Ex-Girlfriend vs. 50 Cent
Highest Court New York Supreme Court
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs Girlfriend of Artist(s)
Defendants 50 Cent
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description A longtime girlfriend to Curtis Jackson (50 Cent), who is also mother to his child, sued 50 for numerous causes of action after he "made it big," alleging he had earlier promised, in return for supporting him while he was struggling and newly paroled, that "when he makes it big, he will take care of [her] for the rest of [her] life." When 50's celebrity and bank account grew, he pushed for Plaintiff (and provided funds) to start a career investing in properties. After the relationship strained, 50 began sleeping around and allegedly hitting Plaintiff, they split, and Plaintiff filed this suit. It could be taught in first year Contracts classes, as it deals with oral contracts and equitable relief that may arise when such promises are unenforceable. The trial court found that Plaintiff stated causes of action for breach of contract, breach of joint venture agreement, partition of property, and various equitable actions, holding that unmarried cohabitants were legally able to contract regarding financial matters. In its final disposition, however, the court dismissed the complaint in its entirety. Any contract-based claims were blocked by lack of specificity in the original promise or by the Statute of Frauds, as not performable within one year. The court found for 50 Cent on every other cause of action, denying petition of property and dismissing assault and battery (outside the statute of limitations), fraud, and others. Plaintiff's "unjust enrichment" action was also insufficient; 50 had since taken care of Plaintiff, even if she originally took care of him. - LSW


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6. DJ Says: "DMX & Fitty Copied Me!"
Highest Court E.D. Michigan
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs Fharmacy Records
Music Producer(s)
Defendants 50 Cent
Def Jam Records
Music Publisher(s)
Ruff Ryders
Universal Music Group
Other DMX
Short Description DMX and songwriters sued for copyright infringement of Plaintiff's composition. Judgment for Defendants. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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7. Fitty and G-Unit Counterfeited
Highest Court New York Criminal Court
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs State Prosecutor(s)
Defendants Bootlegger(s)/Counterfeiter(s)
Other 50 Cent
G-Unit
Short Description Defendant in this case was charged with trademark counterfeiting after an undercover detective purchased a counterfeit CD from Defendant. The detective subsequently seized multiple counterfeit CDs and DVDs from Defendant, bearing various names such as G-Unit, 50 Cent, BMG and Def Jam. The complaint alleged only that the recordings seized were of poor quality, and were bearing the above mentioned names. Based on previous case law, the court reasoned that the complaint was legally insufficient since it failed to allege that the false trademarks used by Defendant were substantially similar to the genuine CDs and DVDs, and that the trademarks imitated were in fact registered. Because of this defect in the complaint, the court conditionally dismissed the case, allowing Plaintiff to amend its complaint to cure the defect. - SKR


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8. 50 Cent Cancels Another Concert
Highest Court E.D. Virginia
Year Ended 2007
Plaintiffs Music Promoter(s)
Defendants 50 Cent
Other Elliot, Missy
Violator Management
Short Description G*Town Entertainment, Inc., entered into a contract with Defendant, Iris.com, to have 50 Cent (and Missy Elliot) perform in Gabon, Africa. Negotiations fell through, and the performance did not occur, but 50 Cent nonetheless received $150,000 in compensation per the terms of the contract. Iris.com moved to compel arbitration according to the arbitration clause of the contract, but 50 Cent filed a motion to suspend arbitration. The court found that there were no issues of material fact to be disputed, granted summary judgment for the defendant, and required the parties to go forward with arbitration proceedings. - SKR & LSW


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9. 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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10. 50 Cent Cancels a Concert
Highest Court New York Supreme Court
Year Ended 2004
Plaintiffs Music Promoter(s)
Defendants 50 Cent
Booking Agent(s)
Violator Management
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description A concert promoter sued 50 Cent and his booking agent, the Defendant, for fraud and breach of contract after the Defendant canceled a concert scheduled to be performed in Idaho. Defendant moved for summary judgment. The Court granted Defendant's motion for summary judgment. - SKR


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