Hip Hop News: Rapper Birdman Sued For Not Paying Licensing Fees

Cash Money Record’s Rapper and CEO Birdman is facing a federal lawsuit, which accuses him of sampling other artists’ songs without paying licensing fees. The lawsuit claims Birdman, real name is Bryan Williams, owes several music publishing companies an unspecified amount of money for using copyrighted songs without permission. Williams and his brother, Ronald, co-founded Cash Money Records, which has a distribution and marketing deal with Universal. The lawsuit claims that albums by Birdman and other rappers, including Lil Wayne and Big Tymers, contain copyrighted material that Cash Money Records used without licensing agreements and without paying royalties. The lawsuit doesn’t name any of the copyrighted songs. The Williams brothers and their label made a single payment of $400,000, the lawsuit says, but have failed to provide the companies with “appropriate accounting” to show how much more money they owe. The lawsuit, filed Oct. 29 in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, accuses the Williams brothers of breach of contract and copyright infringement and seeks unspecified damages, plus interest and attorneys’ fees. Court records show that the plaintiffs’ attorneys tried to serve Cash Money Records with a copy of the lawsuit on Dec. 3, but the label apparently has vacated an office in a New Orleans suburb. Birdman has reportedly moved to Miami. His publicist, Kia Selby, said today (Jan. 3) that she hasn’t seen the lawsuit. The companies named as plaintiffs are WB Music Corp., Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp., Cotillion Music Inc., Noontime Tunes and W.B.M. Music Corp. Warner-Chappell Music, a division of Warner Music Group, is the plaintiffs’ parent company. Source: Billboard


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