Hip-Hop group M.O.P have filed a lawsuit against the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and wrestler John Cena for $150,000 claiming his theme song “Time Is Now” samples one of their tracks.
According to TMZ, Lil’ Fame and Billy Danze allege the organization had unauthorized permission to use elements of their 2000 smash hit “Ante Up” and used a receptionist to sign off on the license. While not sampling the entire piece, M.O.P claim a distinct phrase is unlawfully used in Cena’s theme song.
“The Infringing Work includes a distinctive ‘freestyle’ rap — ‘BRRR Abado’ that has been sampled from the Infringed Work and is clearly repeated three times in the Infringing Work, at the introduction, the second chorus, and the third chorus,” the lawsuit reads. “Upon information and belief, in or about April, 2005, defendants, WWE and Cena commenced using the Infringing Work as defendant Cena’s ‘theme’ and licensed the Infringing Work to various third parties including SONY, among others.”
Having appeared on multiple retail products including the WWE’s soundtrack series, the group are requesting substantial damages to be rewarded and that the unauthorized song be destroyed.
“Plaintiff is further entitled to recover from the defendants the damages sustained by plaintiff as a result of defendants’ acts of copyright infringement,” it reads. “Plaintiff is at present unable to ascertain the full extent of the monetary damage plaintiff has suffered by reason of defendants’ acts of copyright infringement but believes such damages exceed $150,000.”
Cena is known for rapping and freestyling to the ring during WWE matches and also released his debut hip-hop album You Can’t See Me via Columbia and WWE Records. The 17-track disc features Bumpy Knuckles and Esoteric plus producers Chaos, Eligh, Freakas and Jake One.