First off today, Nereida Morena at the Chicago Tribune reports that Chance the Rapper is being sued by jazz musician Abdul Wali Muhammad over allegations that Chance illegally used one of Muhammad’s song in a sample for his Windows.
Muhammad alleges that Chance sampled his song Bridge Through Time on Windows. Windows appeared on the rappers 2012 debut mixtape 10 Day. The mix tape has never been on sale legally but, instead, was passed around to friends, family and fans. It was mistakenly offered on iTunes and Apple Music in January but were quickly removed.
Muhammad is asking the court to stop sale and distribution of Windows claiming that it contains a sample of his work and, despite being notified, has done nothing to rectify the situation.
Next up today, Evan Minsker at Pitchfork reports that Mark Ronson has been sued over his 2014 hit Uptown Funk over allegations it sounds too similar to Zapp’s 1980 song More Bounce to the Ounce.
According to the lawsuit, Ronson has repeatedly discussed his admiration for Zapp and claims that the song is an “obvious” copy of More Bounce. Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the performers of Uptown Funk, record labels and distributors of the song.
The lawsuit isn’t the first controversy for Uptown Funk, which was previously claimed to be a copy of Sequence’s 1979 song Funk You Up. No lawsuit was filed over those allegations.
Finally today, Robert Levine at Billboard reports that the lawsuit over Spotify’s payment (or non-payment) of mechanical royalties is heating up as the plaintiffs have hit back saying that Spotify itself has admitted to needing to pay mechanical royalties and also filed a new complaint on behalf of the publishers administered by the Songwriters Guild of America.
Mechanical royalties are royalties paid to songwriters when a copy of a song is made. The most common example is when a new CD is pressed or digital download is sold. Spotify pays these royalties but doesn’t have all of the information as the databases of songwriters are incomplete. Spotify instead set aside those royalties to pay later but, according to the lawsuit, failed to file the proper paperwork to notify songwriters.
Spotify responded by saying that it didn’t really need to pay mechanical royalties and, thus, the plaintiffs didn’t have an infringement to sue over. Those plaintiffs, which include a variety of songwriters and publishers, have hit back pointing to Spotify’s own previous statements on the subject and that Spotify went before a rate court and argued for a certain rate that it now says it doesn’t have to pay.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.