The estate of late rapper Notorious B.I.G. is reportedly on a mission to settle matters related to copyright infringement over a sample off 1994’s now-iconic Ready to Die album.
According to reports, the estate has filed a lawsuit asking for relief over B.I.G.’s “The What” being accused of heavily sampling singer Leroy Hutson and Michael Hawkins‘ “Can’t Say Enough About Mom.”
In this case, the plaintiff admits sampling the song. Nevertheless, against alleged threats by Hutson’s publishing company, the B.I.G. estate says that the sample is de minimis and fair use as only “two nonsequential tones” were used, adapted, modified and supplemented. Further, any claims to the contrary are argued to be barred as untimely. Finally, Hutson is being charged with copyright misuse for threatening legal action with alleged knowledge of no real infringement. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Despite trying to negotiate the matter, the estate will rely on a judge’s ruling.
Since there is no question that an unauthorized sample actually happened, the lawsuit tees up the question for the judge of how much use of a preexisting song is permissible. In addition, the lawsuit will address other affirmative defenses to improper sampling including statute of limitations and laches. Then, there is the claim of copyright misuse. Given the admittance of a sample, such an allegation appears to be a stretch, but should Biggie’s heirs prevail, it would go a long way to chilling sampling lawsuits. (The Hollywood Reporter)
The Notorious B.I.G. recently landed on a special collector’s edition of New York magazine alongside other notable music moguls.
It hasn’t been that long since Jay Z was throwin up the Roc as a young Hov. For New York magazine’s annual yesteryear issue, the kid version of the rapper-mogul appears in a throwback photo of a 29-year-old Jay, rocking a red cap and a leather jacket, in 1997. The issue, which celebrates the past century of New York music, has seven other covers on deck, including ones with Notorious B.I.G., Madonna and Barbra Streisand. It also contains the Encyclopedia of New York Pop Music. (VIBE)
The late rapper’s ex-wife Faith Evans recently appeared on television personality Arsenio Hall‘s talk show and spoke on B.I.G.’s unsolved murder case.
“We just basically stopped spending our money on trying to hope that the LAPD was gonna do, you know, their part. You know what I’m saying? It’s not closed. It’s just a matter of when they really feel like they wanna do the right thing ’cause we in our hearts kinda feel like we know what happened and we believe that they know what happened. You know, we’ll probably be the biggest case in the city’s history.” (“Arsenio”)
Check out the songs: