Funk legend George Clinton sues the Black Eyed Peas for alleged copyright infringement
Image Credit: Tony Lowe/PR PhotosParliament Funkadelic leader George Clinton has filed a copyright lawsuit against each member of the Black Eyed Peas, UMG Recordings, and Cherry Lane Music, accusing them of wrongfully sampling his “(Not Just) Knee Deep” from 1979 album Uncle Jam Wants You on two remixes of the will.i.am-produced “Shut Up”: “Shut the Phunk Up Remix” and “Shut Up Remix” from their 2003 Grammy-nominated Elephunk album. The case was filed Dec. 10 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
Clinton, whose retro funk has always been a favorite among hip-hop purists, has a heavily sampled catalog. Iconic producer Dr. Dre leaned heavily on Clinton’s classics during his early ’90s G-Funk era when he crafted tracks for Snoop Dogg and 2Pac. “(Not Just) Knee Deep” has been sampled by De La Soul and several other acts in years past. But he denied the Peas’ request to legally clear the sample when a producer for the band allegedly asked.
To date, Clinton says he has not received any royalties from the remixes. Now he is seeking maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement and requests that sales of the infringing songs stop immediately. It’s obvious that they used the sample. How they went about acquiring it is the question here. The Peas’ rep was not available for comment.
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