West and Ludacris wrap up victory in plagiarism trial

July 2006

Music publishing

Rappers Kanye West and Ludacris have won a copyright infringement case when a jury concluded their 2003 hit ” Stand Up” did not copy Straight Like That by New Jersey musicians IOF. Ten jurors returned the verdict after less than a day of deliberations in the two-week trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Ludacris said he never doubted the jury would agree that the song he and West created did not sound like ” Straight Like That”. IOF’s (It’s Only Family) ” Straight Like That” never made it beyond some air time on college radio after copies of it were released in September 2001. ” Stand Up” was released in the fall of 2003 on Ludacris’ album ” Chicken and Beer” and became a huge hit. At the trial West had told the court that it was not unusual for both songs to use the phrase “like that” and that phrases such as “yo, whats up”, “throw your hands high” and “like that” woud be found in a lot of rap and hip-hop songs. The cliamants lawyer, Mel Sachs, had said that the words “like that” were used more than 50 times in each song. Jeff Billingsley, a plaintiff and owner of Cobble One Records said the verdict will be appealed. He said the plaintiffs were damaged when the judge excluded their music expert from testifying as part of sanctions taken against a lawyer who was dismissed from the case before trial. Sachs said the issue provides the group with a stronger case on appeal. “We were at a severe disadvantage,” he said. Sachs said the verdict was disappointing but understandable since the plaintiffs could not present their expert.

No Comments

Comments are closed.