Lil’ Flip has been hit with a second copyright infringement
lawsuit, this time due to alleged unauthorized use of three melodies on his
major label debut, Undaground Legend.
The latest round
of legal wrangling for the Houston, Texas rapper stems from three songs on the
CD, “Texas Boys,” “Make Mama Proud” and “What
I Been Through.”
The lawsuit, filed
in Federal Court in the Southern District of Texas, claims the melodies were
the creation of Tommy L. Granville, a songwriter and music producer based out
of Shreveport, Louisiana.
In addition to
Lil’ Flip, Suckafree Records, Estelle Douglass Hobbs, Sony Music, Columbia,
Loud Records, Lucky Publishing and Hobbs Publishing are all named as defendants
in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks
$1.5 million in damages and an unspecified amount for alleged willful infringement
of Granville’s copyrights.
Legend has moved over a million copies since it was released in 2002. Lil
Flip’s song “Sunshine” from his album U Gotta Feel Me,
is currently number 43 on Billboard’s Top 100 Singles chart.
Lil’ Flip also
recently release another mixtape, "Houston We Have a Problem," with
In September 2004,
NamCo America filed a $10 million dollar lawsuit against Lil’ Flip and
Sony, alleging the rapper illegally used copyrighted sounds from the classic
video games “Pac-Man” and “Ms. Pac-Man.”
Also in September
2004, The US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that ruled that all samples
must be licensed, citing rules established under the Digital Millennium Copyright
Act of 1998.
"If you cannot
pirate the whole sound recording, can you ‘lift’ or ‘sample’ something less
than the whole? Our answer to that question is in the negative," the ruling
stated. “Get a license or do not sample.”
Critics and musicians,
especially rappers, have often argued fair use, or that the pieces were so small
and transformed that the original sample did not need to be cleared.