Music Publisher Discovers A Song In Its Catalog Has Been Heavily Sampled For Decades... Sues Everyone

from the statute-of-limitations? dept

Over at THREsq, they have the story of a small music publisher by the name of Drive-In Music. Apparently it holds the rights to the song "Let A Woman Be A Woman" by Dyke & The Blazers:
A UK-based band called The Heavy apparently used the music in that song as the basis for its song "How You Like Me Now?"
The music seems pretty clearly to come from the earlier song. Of course, Drive-In only noticed all of this after Hyundai used this song in a commercial it ran during last year's Superbowl:
Rather than just suing those behind the Heavy's song, Drive In has basically gone on a legal rampage. It sued pretty much everyone even loosely connected with the song. So, it sued the label... but also the ad agency that put together the ad, the NFL for having the commercial during the Super Bowl and CBS for airing the ad. Apparently that lawsuit was settled, which is too bad, as it seems like many of those parties could push back on the claims.

Since then, however, Drive-In has suddenly discovered that the song has been sampled in a bunch of other songs, and has decided to sue over all of them. THREsq has a list:
  • In July, Drive-in Music sued Sony BMG, Ruthless Records, and others for use of "Let a Woman Be a Woman" in the seminal gangster rap hit, "Menace to Society" by the group, Above the Law
  • In August, Drive-in Music sued Capitol Records for use of "Let a Woman Be a Woman" in the 1990 rap song, "Diss You" from rapper, King Tee
  • In September, Drive-in Music sued Busta Rhymes, Warner Music, Elektra Entertainment, Atlantic Recording Company and others for use of "Let a Woman Be a Woman" in 1991 old-school hip hop song, "Case of the P.T.A."
  • In September, Drive-in Music sued Universal Music Group, Interscope-Geffen-A&M Group, and Beck Hansen for use of "Let a Woman Be a Woman" in the 1997 Beck song "Jack-Ass" from the Odelay album
  • In fact, just this week, Drive-in Music has filed a second lawsuit over that very same Beck song. The company is going after the publisher, Cyandide Breathmint Music, the Dust Brothers, and various subsidiaries of UMG.
Of course, if I remember correctly (and you copyright lawyers out there, feel free to chime in), the statute of limitations on copyright is three years. I believe that this doesn't prevent Drive-In from suing over those older songs, but it would limit any damages to what's happened with those songs in the past three years (meaning: likely not very much).

Filed Under: music, samples
Companies: drive-in music

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2011 @ 11:22pm

    Now ICE has to seize all the assets from those criminal samplers.

    That is how the law works right?

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