Lil’ Jon & the East Side Boyz have won a copyright violation lawsuit that claimed the song “Weedman” was licensed by a former associate.
The track was believed to be owned by an artist close to Lil’ Jon.
Here’s the artistic context, noted by the 11th Circuit: the rapper “Lil Jon came up with the idea for a song about calling a ‘weedman’ after someone suggested they call a supplier of marijuana or ‘weed.'” A musician named Redwin Wilchombe, inspired, thereupon sang a chorus and melody. Lil Jon offered suggestions, Wilchombe revised and extended his piece, and a version eventually ended up on the album Kings of Crunk, which sold about two million copies. Wilchombe apparently was never paid or credited for the work. He sued, claiming copyright infringement and breach of fiduciary duty. (Washington Bureau)
However, a non-favoring decision was given against Wilchombe last week.
A federal judge ruled against Wilchombe’s claims of copyright infringement and breach of fiduciary duty. He appealed, and a three-judge panel upheld the ruling Wednesday, finding that Wilchombe had knowingly collaborated on the album. One of the appeals judges suggested Wilcombe might have better luck seeking a share of the profits but added “we cannot properly rewrite Mr. Wilchombe’s complaint.” (USA Today)
Furthermore, the judge claimed an implied consent was given to Lil’ Jon and crew.
“The district court properly rejected these arguments,” Judge Birch wrote, “and we likewise refuse to give Wilchcombe a ‘second bite at the apple.'” The court agreed with the conclusion that Wilchcombe had given Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz his implied consent to use “The Weedman” in their album. The court also pointed out that the plaintiff had asserted solo authorship for his copyright claim, but then said the song was co-authored in order to establish a confidential relationship for his breach of fiduciary duty claim. (Court House News)
Lil’ Jon’s Kings of Crunk was released in October 2002.
Kings of Crunk detours into more of a Texas-type sound when Jon features U.G.K. on the rock-influenced “Diamonds,” and those who find that Jon’s up-tempo material can be exhausting will be surprised at how much his group chills out on “Nothin’s Free” and a few other smooth, R&B-drenched items. Arguably the trio’s most well-rounded album, Kings of Crunk will keep crunk fans happy, but has enough variety to keep listeners from calling them one-dimensional. (Billboard)