Juvenile emerged victorius in a federal copyright
lawsuit stemming from his 1998 hit, "Back That Azz Up.
Local disc jockey Jerome "DJ Jubilee"
Temple, a special education teacher and his record label, Take Fo’ Records,
claimed in the lawsuit that Juvenile used his song without permission.
After a five day trial that saw both rappers
testify, jurors ruled in favor of Juvenile.
"I feel like I was robbed," Jubilee
said minutes after the verdict came down. He said that he would appeal the decision.
According to testimony, Jubilee said he had been
recording what’s known as "bounce music" for quite sometime and that
most local rappers used his catch phrases to sell millions of records and in
turn, make millions of dollars.
Jubilee noted that his version of the song was
recorded in 1997 and released on his album, Take It to the St. Thomas,
which dropped in 1998.
Juvenile countered, saying he had been making
bounce music for over a decade, noting his 1991 record, "Bounce for the
Juvenile also said that he performed the song
at a 1997 block party in the Magnolia housing projects in New Orleans, and that
Jubilee was present.
"I feel like he got it from me," Juvenile
The case even saw two music experts representing
each side take the stand, to show how different, or alike the songs are.
For Jubilee, it was University of New Orleans
professor Harold Battiste, who arranged songs for such artists as Sonny and
Cher. Battiste also teaches jazz arranging, composing, theory and appreciation.
"The essence of these two pieces is exactly
the same," he testified, saying the tempo of the songs were similar and
that both songs have the same hook.
Juvenile brought in Gayle Murchison, a music
historian from Tulane University who specializes in 20th centry African-American
music. She said that the two versions only share the words of the title and
"Beyond that, the songs are not that similar."
Murchison pointed out that Jubilee’s song is
in the key of A-flat, while Juvenile’s is in D-minor. She also pointed out that
Juvenile’s had more of an orchestral sound, while Jubilee borrowed a snippet
from the Jackson Five’s hit song, "I Want You Back."
The jury agreed with Murchison and Juvenile.
Cash Money Records had filed a countersuit claiming that Take Fo’ Records violated
Louisiana trade laws after collecting royalites from BMI.
The verdict means the label must return the royalties
collected, which only amount to a few thousands dollars. Juvenile
said that while was mad when he heard Jubilee’s version of the song, he never
intended to sue.
"I really wanted him to make some money,"
Juvenile said. "I didn’t want it to come to this."