The leader of an R&B boy band that is suing Justin Timberlake, NSYNC, Nelly and the Neptunes has come forward to speak about a copyright lawsuit filed against the superstar group of artists.
Ben Freeman, leader of the R&B boy band “TRB,” claims that he wrote and recorded ‘Be My Girlfriend’ for his son’s Ben III, Antoine and Christopher Freeman in September of 1995.
Freeman said he registered the song with the Library of Congress shortly after penning the song, which was released and sold throughout Freeman’s native city of Pittsburgh.
“It was discovered in February 2003 that the song ‘Be My Girlfriend’ was infringed upon, when the 45th Grammy Awards program aired, featuring NSYNC with Nelly doing my song, ‘Girlfriend’,” Freeman told AllHipHop.com. “I was very disappointed to later find out my song was released without being attributed to me as the writer. The right thing to do would have been to contact me as the songwriter through the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. or through ASCAP, in New York in which I am a member. I would have been flattered to have given my permission for these recording artists to record my song.”
“Be My Girlfriend” was nominated for a Grammy Award for “Best Pop Performance By A Duo or Group” in 2003.
NSYNC’s CD Celebrity, which included the song, was also nominated for the “Best Pop Vocal Album.”
“I’m very very flattered that these artists and their companies have chosen to record my song. But I would certainly like to enjoy the fruits of my labor and recoup all that is due to me in damages, royalties, distribution etc.” Freeman said. “Copyright infringement is potentially a federal crime and I intend to get back all that is mine as the original songwriter and publisher of the song. I own the certificate of copyright for the original recording and have registered it with the Library of Congress.”
Yvonne Freeman, the mother of the three boys, expressed her disgust with the entire situation.
“To have a superstar band like NSYNC, with Justin Timberlake as its lead singer, do this to us is so disheartening. For this successful young White kid backed by these giant recording and publishing companies to come in and heavy handedly infringe on my husband’s copyright of his songs; the songs that my husband wrote for our boys,” Mrs. Freeman stated. “It’s just like taking candy from a baby! It’s not right, it’s just not right. It’s downright criminal! My husband also recorded the song, ‘Too Far Away’ which I believe is the mirror image of their song ‘Gone’ which is on their CD entitled Celebrity. ”