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,
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."
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
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
was disappointing but understandable in the wake of this order to preclude the
plaintiffs' expert in the case," Sachs said.