Sampling ‘settlement’ does not preclude ongoing claim

June 2006

Record labels, artists

A US federal judge has issued a ruling in favor of 1970’s British soul group Cymande, in a sampling lawsuit against the Fugees and Sony Music. The lawsuit, which was filed by group members Steve Scipio and Patrick Patterson in March, claims the Fugees illegally sampled the song “Dove” on their 1996 album T he Score. The basis of the claim is not vabout the fact of infringement – this seems to be accepted and in 1998, the two parties attempted to negotiate a settlement agreement. Cymande accepted a payment of $400,000. However, according to the lawsuit, members of Cymande denied that the $400,000 payment was for (full and final?) settlement whereas Sony claim that Cynmande “entered into a settlement” and that members of Cymande “ratified the 1998 settlement by accepting the several hundred thousand dollars of Defendants’ payments”. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the payments did not amount to “ratification of an unsigned agreement to settle an infringement dispute.” The Court held that “the Proposed Agreement was never ratified and that Plaintiffs should not be equitably stopped from pursuing their infringement claims”. However the $400,000 payment must be repaid or subtracted from Cymande’s damages if they prevail on the copyright infringement.

Thank you toThe IPKat for the reference here.
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