Sampling issues have been a problem within the music industry for as long as anyone can remember. Artists are dragged into court all the time over accusations regarding stolen beats, lyrics, etc. That’s why it is so important to go through the right channels when using someone else’s material. Recently, one of the biggest music related theft cases ever was filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana courtesy of Paul Batiste representative of The Batiste Brothers Band. The Batiste Brothers are a New Orleans Jazz collective that was assembled back in 1976. They are credited as having a major influence on the New Orleans Jazz scene. They even became so popular that they have a school and marching band named after them.
The filing alleges that tons of producers, rappers, record labels, and more stole content from the Batiste family catalog and illegally infused it into their own work without any type of permission from or compensation for the band. The list of individuals, labels, & publishing companies named in the suit is extensive and includes the likes of: DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, T-Pain, Pitbull, Cash Money Records, Def Jam, RCA/Jive, etc. The lawsuit is a whopping 118 pages long altogether. A couple of the songs that are said to contain the illegal content are: “Blame It” by Jamie Foxx & T-Pain, “Booty Wurk” by T-Pain, and “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled. The total list of tunes is described as just as lengthy as the list of offenders. The lawsuit states that the sampling can be heard in the: beats, lyrics, melodies, and chords. Additionally, it reads that each release/version of the listed singles counts as an act of copyright infringement. So taking all of that into consideration, Batiste feels that the band is owed around $100,000,000. He ultimately wants: full accounting, award of actual damages, profits, and a permanent order to prevent those named from using any further Batiste family materials without the proper permission.
**My Two Cents: This is one big giant mess. I don’t see anything coming of it though because there are too many prominent names involved. The lawyers will have this going through the court system for years. I do find it pretty interesting though. And I don’t doubt that some of the band’s music probably was stolen. Some people are too lazy to actually handle things the correct way. However, I don’t think 118 pages worth of infringement took place. That just seems like overkill. Gotta love the music industry (lol). -MinM