Ludacris, Kanye West Cleared Of Stealing Song From New Jersey Rap Group

Hip-Hop stars Ludacris

and Kanye West were cleared of copyright infringement in a New York court yesterday

(June 1), after being accused of stealing portions of Ludacris' 2003 hit single,

"Stand Up."

I.O.F. (It's Only

Family), an upcoming rap group from New Jersey, filed the lawsuit against Ludacris,

born Christopher Bridges and Kanye West in U.S. District Court in Manhattan,

claiming the pair received copies of their song "Straight Like That"

in 2002 and 2003.

The aspiring rap

group claimed they had given copies to both Ludacris and West, only to hear

bits of the song incorporated into Ludacris' single, which was produced by West.

Both Ludacris and

West took the stand and denied stealing any element of "Straight Like That."

"There's a

lot of rap songs that say 'like that,' 'yo,' 'what's up' or 'throw your hands

up,' " West testified. "Whatever people say in the 'hood, it ends

up on records."

A group of ten

jurors issued the verdict in less than a day, although the trial lasted two


"I hope the

plaintiffs enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame," Ludacris said. "This

whole experience is proof to me of why I will always fight for what I believe


I.O.F.'s lawyer

Mel Sachs said the group planned to appeal the ruling. Sachs told Reuters that

one of the plaintiff's witnesses, an expert in music, was not allowed to take

the stand.

"The verdict

was disappointing but understandable in the wake of this order to preclude the

plaintiffs' expert in the case," Sachs said.