Lil’ Flip/Sony BMG Music Found Guilty Of Copyright Infringement.

A jury in Houston

Federal Court has found rapper Lil’ Flip and Sony BMG Music Entertainment guilty

of willful copyright infringement.

Lil’ Flip (real

name Wesley Eric Weston) was sued in Nov. 2004 for alleged unauthorized use

of three melodies on his major label debut, Undaground

Legend.

The lawsuit, filed

in Federal Court in the Southern District of Texas, claimed that the melodies

were the creation of Tommy L. Granville, a songwriter and music producer based

out of Shreveport, Louisiana.

The jury verdict

found that Suckafree Records, Lil’ Flip, his manager Estelle Douglass Hobbs,

Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Columbia Records, Loud Records, Lucky Publishing

and Hobbs Publishing willfully violated the copyrighted music of Tommy Granville,

when the Defendants included it on Lil’ Flip’s platinum-selling CD, Undaground

Legend.

The lawsuit sought

$1.5 million in damages and an unspecified amount for alleged willful infringement

of Granville’s copyrights.

The Houston jury

awarded Granville $150,000, the maximum statutory damages under the law.

Magistrate Judge

Stacy also fined Sony $12,000 for their failure to adhere to the court’s orders

to turn over financial documents.

"We’re very

pleased that the jury agreed that Tommy Granville’s music was illegally taken

by these Defendants," Scott Hemingway, attorney for the plaintiff, told

AllHipHop.com. "Sony is one of the world’s biggest enforcers of its copyright

rights and it files 1000’s of copyright infringement lawsuits against Internet

file-sharers to protect its rights. It is nice to see the jury tell Sony and

the other Defendants that they should respect the copyrights of others the same

way they want their own copyright rights respected."

In a separate action

in Sept. 2004, NamCo America sued the same set of defendants for copyright infringement

over Lil’ Flip’s hit song, "Game Over."

In that lawsuit

filed in US District Court, Southern District of New York, Namco alleged that

their copyright was infringed upon when sounds from the game "Pac-Man"

and "Ms. Pac-Man" were included on "Game Over" and its remix.

That suit was settled

prior to going to trial.

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