George Clinton Takes On Sample Troll Bridgeport Music Again: The DNA Of Hip Hop Has Been Hijacked

from the copyright-trolls dept

For many years, we've covered the odd situation between Bridgeport Music and George Clinton. The history there is highly disputed, but somewhere along the line, Bridgeport Music (apparently a one-man shop by a guy named Armen Boladian) "acquired" the rights to a bunch of George Clinton songs. Clinton claims that Boladian "stole" them and forged his signature on various documents. There are other versions of the story that involve questionable actions by agents, lawyers and record labels. Either way, about a decade ago, Boladian noticed that tons of hip hop songs sampled Clinton songs, and he dug up every single example he could find and sued them all -- filing hundreds of lawsuits. Some resulted in legal victories, including an absolutely dreadfully ridiculous ruling in the 6th Circuit, Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films, which involved an almost totally unrecognizable 2-second sample of a Funkadelic tune that had the pitch changed. The district court reasonably found no copyright violation, but the appeals court, in a ruling that shocked many copyright scholars, stated that any copy was a violation: "Get a license or do not sample. We do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way."

Either way, George Clinton and Bridgeport have battled it out before, with Clinton agreeing to testify on behalf of certain artists sued by Bridgeport in the past. Clinton claims that Bridgeport dropped the cases every time he did that. Last week, Bridgeport sued Lil Wayne over a George Clinton sample, and Clinton is apparently not at all happy about it, putting out the following video where he calls the whole thing "bullshit" (in two languages! so slightly NSFW):
The video also highlights some of Clinton's past dealings with Bridgeport and suggests that Clinton is getting involved in the fight. In the video, he states:
The DNA of hip hop has been hijacked, leaving many artists across generations in needless hardship.
Unfortunately, in all the years following Bridgeport and George Clinton, I have to admit that Clinton is anything but clear and detailed in explaining what happened or even what's going on today. The same is true of the current video which doesn't go into much detail. And while it points people to Clinton's blog Funkprobosci to "help stop" Bridgeport, there really isn't that much additional infromation. There is an FAQ, which has some info, but is again confusing and not particularly detailed. It would be great if there were a more complete and detailed explanation of (1) how Bridgeport got Clinton's music (2) the existing legal challenges between Clinton and Bridgeport, and (3) what Clinton is trying to do now.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 13th, 2011 @ 12:06pm

    In recent discussions about appropriation art lawsuits, quite a few people defended the plaintiff on the grounds that they weren't actually being greedy since they were supposedly motivated by artistic integrity, not money, and that a lawsuit was simply their only recourse.

    Curious to see how those folks will respond to this situation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Mr. LemurBoy (profile), Jun 13th, 2011 @ 12:19pm

    Another wonderful example of how copyright is there to protect artists. Right? ... right? ....... anyone?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 13th, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    Re:

    Curious to see how those folks will respond to this situation.

    They won't...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2011 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re:

    The artists are too stupid to know what is good for them!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Funkprobosci, Jun 13th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

    Thanks for your ongoing coverage of this story. To address the author's questions:

    Bridgeport claims ownership to the majority of P-Funk's music by using a forged document from 1983 dealing with the transfer of the Malbiz catalog of songs. Armen Boladian has admitted in court that he signed George's name, changed wording of the contract w/o notification, and practiced these same tactics on numerous other documents. Essentially Bridgeport acquired the music through theft, coercion, blackmail & other highly dubious actions.

    George is currently trying to make others aware of the situation & finally get his day in court. For decades those involved against him (BMI, Universal Music Group, Hendricks & Lewis, Nene Montes, Sync2Picture, Kobalt) have done everything they can to keep George from testifying in court or allowing crucial documents to be entered into evidence. They know their evidence is fabricated and that the court will side with George (as happened in 2005 when he was awarded 4 masters back). Bridgeport has dug itself into a hole with all it's backroom dealings. So much so a RICO case is being prepared against them.

    Feel free to send additional inquiries to: Funkprobosci@gmail.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Rich, Jun 13th, 2011 @ 1:43pm

    Re:

    Love George Clinton! I am constantly singing Give Up the Funk to my daughter. She thinks I'm crazy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Jun 13th, 2011 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Spoken like a true shill.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    A Monkey with Atitude, Jun 13th, 2011 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Re:

    I get to see him in August... So excited... Love George...

    And does it surprise anyone this happens with how copyright has been twisted to protect the labels and not the artist....IF copyright was really really about the artist, then George Clinton (for the sake of all that is good and holy, FUNK-incarnate) says no problem, and some faceless, dirt dealer is suing everyone for something the Bridgeport had no hand in... but the ARTIST who made it and did everything is left back... Defend it you damn maximist defend your stance we are the thieves yet here the ARTIST is screwed not by his fans, but by twisting and turning copyright law.... show me how this "Promotes" anything but theft by YOU.. how this "Helps" the artist...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    edward jackson, Jun 26th, 2011 @ 6:20am

    Re:

    I thank that it's funk up that that man would do that to george clinton as hard as he has work to put those songs together, and that fuckin mothership, loose booty,invadetion of George clinton music should. Have to give that man back what belong to him

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Judie, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 3:54pm

    There's no honor among thieves

    George Clinton entered into an "unholy" alliance with Armen Boladian when GC filed bankruptcy and listed "no assets". All of a sudden, Malbiz Music (GC's publishing arm) was "no more" and Bridgeport had all that publishing. Problem was: many of the writers (Bernie Worrell included and I KNOW this because I sued GC and received the bankruptcy papers which I still have and can use to prove what I'm saying). Anyhow, GC had claimed the others' publishing and during the "transfer", all of those writers lost their publishing to Armen too (with absolutely NO foreknowledge). George Clinton got caught up in his own machinations. It's not him you should feel sorry for but ALL the co-writers of the original hits.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    donniesterling, May 12th, 2013 @ 9:51pm

    co-writer

    Wrote for the brides, parlet,Parliament, Sterlingsilver,funkfamily p-allstars,and George Clinton himself wow this is nee-deep Donnie sterling

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    donniesterling, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 3:27pm

    donniesterling p-funk /kiddo

    I don't think its fair to writters who have suffer behind deals gone bad behind the record companys,product,writes,and publishing writes,me my self was a vlctim,(THE BIG BANG THEORY, (AGONEY OF DEFEET, (NO RUMP TO BUMP,(HOW TO SURVIVE IN SOUTH CENTRAL(GEORGE CLINTON FUNK FAMILY SERIES VOL,S STERLING SILVER STARSHIP BAND,LATE RELEASE (KIDDO TRY MY LOVING (KIDDO,S SHE'S. GOT THE P-FUNK AL-STARS BODY,THINKING ABOUT YOUR CHARMS HIP HOP REMIX PAULA AND SO ON,I WISH THERE WAS MORE EXECUTIVES WHO CARED DONNIE STERLING SINCERLY YOURS. MORE IMFO 562-313-9422

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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