US 5th Circuit Court Of Appeals finds no copying in “Back That Azz Up”

March 2005

Record Labels, Music Publishers, Artists

In February 2002, Louisiana rapper DJ Jubilee (Jerome Temple) registered a song entitled “Back That Ass Up” with the U.S. Copyright Office and filed a copyright infringement suit against rapper Juvenile (Terius Gray) in Louisiana’s U.S. District Court on the same day. Juvenille immediately denied the allegations and contended that the two songs featured no true similarities. To win the suit in US law Jubilee had to prove that his song was (a) copyrighted and (b) that Juvenille’s version was “substantially similar” to his recording. According to Judge Carolyn Dineen King’s opinion, both songs were recorded in 1997 with slight differences in the title’s spelling. While Jubilee dubbed his effort, “Back That Ass Up,” Juvenile titled his cut, “Back That Azz Up.” Juvenile’s single turned out to be a big. His 400 Degreez LP sold 4 million copies.Jubilee’s song never took off. Following a 2003 trial, a jury ruled in favor of Juvenile on grounds that Jubilee couldn’t establish significant similarities between the two songs. Jubilee, who still works as a special education teacher, later appealed the verdict to the 5th Circuit Court claiming that the jury should have examined specific sections of both tracks instead of comparing the songs as a whole. The 5th Circuit recently ruled in favour of Juvenile, upholding the Jury’s decision. The court held that whilst Jubilee’s ‘hook’ was “Back That Ass Up”, the actual hook in Juve’s version was not the phrase “Back That Azz Up,” but the sample of The Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back.”


Also see: ‘The Song Remains The Same’ by Ben Challis – a review of the legalities of music sampling – at :

No Comments

Comments are closed.