April 20, 2014

Singer-Songwriter Lee Hutson Sues Rapper Young Jeezy Over Alleged Use of "Getting It On" Sample

Lee Hutson, Sr., Miami, Florida resident and former frontman of 1970s R&B group The Impressions, filed a complaint on August 27, 2013 in the Northern District of Georgia against Jay Jenkins, known in the music world as Young Jeezy, as well as Donald Earl Cannon and Cannon Music, LLC, the producers of the music in question.  Hutson alleges that Young Jeezy's song "Time" inappropriately incorporates the instrumental portion of his song "Getting it On," which was registered with the U.S. Copyright Office in March (composition) and April (sound recording) of 1973.

Hutson claims that his songs have been sampled by many popular artists over the past decade, including T.I., Paul Wall, Bone Thugs & Harmony, Erykah Badu, and Snoop Dogg (now Snoop Lion).  According to the complaint, although Young Jeezy's song "Time" was created in May 2010 and featured on the mixtape "Trap or Die 2," Hutson did not discover the track until February 10, 2012 when his daughter came across it on the website, a website which identifies sound recordings which have been reincorporated into other recordings.

Hutson alleges that the Defendants never obtained any permission or license to use his copyrighted work, never paid him for the reproduction and distribution of the work, and did not credit his work in any way.  The complaint alleges that the song is still available for purchase and download from a number of websites and venues.  Further, Hutson claims that Young Jeezy received payments from third parties for use of "Time" and that the song was used to market and promote Young Jeezy's 2011 album "TM: 103 Hustlerz Ambition."  Hutson's original song and Young Jeezy's allegedly infringing song can be heard here:

The complaint includes counts for copyright infringement and unjust enrichment, and seeks statutory and actual damages, temporary and permanent orders impounding and disposing of all allegedly infringing materials, attorneys' fees, and costs.

The case is Hutson v. Jenkins et al., No. 1:13-cv-2862-CAP, United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, and is assigned to Judge Charles A. Pannell, Jr.

Copyright © 2014 Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author

Preston H Heard, Womble Carlyle Law Firm, Intellectual Property Attorney

Preston Heard is an experienced patent litigation attorney who represents clients in a variety of industries, including the mechanical, computer and chemical sectors, in patent-related disputes.

 A registered patent attorney, Preston has represented patent clients in U.S. District Court in numerous states, as well as before the U.S. International Trade Commission. He works with patent owners to devise overall strategies to protect and enforce patent rights and to assess potential patent-related claims. He also works with clients to develop effective defenses against patent...


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