Lil Jon Off The Hook In "Weedman" Copyright Case
A judge rejected an appeal of a copyright lawsuit against Atlanta rapper Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz over the track The Weedman.
The lawsuit, which also named TVT Records, was dismissed from United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia earlier this week.
Freelance musician Redwin Wilchcombe claimed that he and his manager were members of a production team named Red Teamwerk.
In May of 2002, Wilchcombe met Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz at the Audio Vision recording studio, while the rappers were working on their album Kingz of Crunk.
According to the lawsuit, Lil Jon came up with the idea for the song Weedman, after someone in the studio suggest they call a dealer for a supply of marijuana.
Wilchcombe, who was in the recording studio, claims he came up with a hook for the record, which was to be used an in interlude or segue between the different sides of Kingz of Crunk.
Lil Jon critiqued the work and also gave input on the track, which Wilchcombe claims he authored in full and performed live for Lil Jon, who approved the words.
Lil Jon then allegedly mixed the track, added some vocals and released the song on the 21-track album Kingz of Crunk, which eventually sold over 2 million copies.
Wilchcombe, who filed his copyright for the work almost two years after the album was released, had no written agreement in regards to the song.
In his lawsuit, he acknowledged being a part of the creative process and granted Lil Jon oral permission to use the recording.
The district court correctly found that the parties conduct created an implied license, ruled Honorable Chief Judge Robert L. Hinkle. Wilchcombe does not dispute that he created the song for the album at Lil Jons request and that he instructed Taylor to send it to Lil Jon for final mixing and inclusion on the album. Wilchcombe testified in his deposition that he understood Lil Jon would use the song on the album. In addition, Wilchcombe does not dispute that when he handed over the song, he never discussed with Taylor or any of the Appellees that using the song would constitute copyright infringement.
Because there was written contract in regards to the song to support Wilchcombes allegations of a breach of fiduciary duty for not being compensated, the district court dismissed his appeal.
The district court properly rejected these arguments for this reason, and we likewise refuse to give Wilchcombe a second bite at the apple.