The record label TufAmerica is quickly gaining recognition, but not for releasing quality music. Recent publicity would suggest that they’ve divided their operations; one half is devoted to handling all of the stuff that record labels traditionally handle, and the other half is devoted to analyzing popular hip-hop albums, listening closely for any sample that just might (thanks to complicated legal minutiae) violate copyright laws.
Recall that it was back in May that TufAmerica brought a lawsuit against the Beastie Boys, alleging, among other things, copyright infringement, despite the fact that the five-year statute of limitations had long-since passed on the samples in question. Who knows how that will turn out or if it will go anywhere, but in the meantime, the folks at TufAmerica must be thinking, why not deliver another lawsuit against one of the world’s most popular artists, just for good measure?
Reported by Billboard, this lawsuit has to do with the tracks “Who Will Survive in America?” and “Lost in the World,” featured on Kanye West’s 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (TMT Review). Both tracks sample the 1969 single “Hook and Sling, Part 1” from New Orleans singer and pianist Eddie Bo, and TufAmerica claims that it bought the rights to this particular song more than 15 years ago.
In contrast with the Beastie Boys case, West’s label Roc-A-Fella (and by extension, Universal Music Group) apparently did pay a license fee of $62,500, but TufAmerica alleges in its complaint that the labels “failed and refused to enter into written license agreements that accounted for their multiple other uses of [‘Hook and Sling’]” — other uses that include a film based on the track “Runaway,” and the “Lost in the World” music video. It seems like a valid complaint at first judgment, but I’m no expert. I just want to sigh. These lawsuits are depressing in their greed and pettiness. Snooki gives me more faith in humanity. Where’s my pick-me-up?
• Kanye West: http://kanyewest.com