The late rapper Notorious B.I.G. estate have reportedly been on a mission to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit over a sample off his 1994 ‘Ready to Die’ album.
According to reports, the B.I.G estate has filed a lawsuit asking relief for his “The What” track being accused of sampling singer Leroy Hutson and Michael Hawkins’ “Cant Say Enough About Mom.”
“In this case, the plaintiff admits sampling the song. Nevertheless, against alleged threats by Hutson’s publishing company, the B.I.G. estate says that the sample is de minimis and fair use as only “two nonsequential tones” were used, adapted, modified and supplemented. Further, any claims to the contrary are argued to be barred as untimely. Finally, Hutson is being charged with copyright misuse for threatening legal action with alleged knowledge of no real infringement.” (The Hollywood Reporter)
Although the estate is trying to negotiate the lawsuit, they will be relying on the judge to make the decision.
“Since there is no question that an unauthorized sample actually happened, the lawsuit tees up the question for the judge of how much use of a preexisting song is permissible. In addition, the lawsuit will address other affirmative defenses to improper sampling including statute of limitations and laches. Then, there is the claim of copyright misuse. Given the admittance of a sample, such an allegation appears to be a stretch, but should Biggie’s heirs prevail, it would go a long way to chilling sampling lawsuits.” (The Hollywood Reporter)