19 January 2016Copyright

50 Cent secures copyright win in ‘I Get Money’ dispute

Musician Curtis Jackson, known as 50 Cent, has successfully fended off a copyright lawsuit centring on his 2007 hit “I Get Money”.

In a ruling handed down on Friday, January 15, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling which said that musician Tyrone Simmons had waited too long to assert his copyright claim against the US artist.

“I Get Money” was released in 2007 and is included in 50 Cent’s third album “Curtis”. The song includes a beat created in 2006 by music producer William Stanberry.

In 2006, Simmons and Stanberry agreed a deal which saw Simmons become the exclusive licensee of the beat.

After the deal, 50 Cent expressed an interest in using the beat and approached Stanberry, who agreed that he could use it.

According to the ruling, Stanberry then informed Simmons in an email sent in May 2007 that Simmons “no longer had exclusive (or any) rights to the beat”.

Simmons sued 50 Cent and Stanberry for copyright infringement in December 2010 at the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

The court dismissed the case on the grounds that Simmons had waited too long to assert his claim.

Simmons appealed against the ruling but the second circuit upheld the New York court’s ruling.

The court cited a statute in the US Copyright Act that restricts parties from filing a claim more than three years after the alleged infringement took place.

“Because Simmons was aware of the alleged dispute over the right to use the beat and of the alleged infringement of Simmons’s rights, and yet waited more than three years to file suit, we affirm the district court’s conclusion that Simmons’s suit is time-barred,” the three-judge panel said.

David Leichtman, partner at law firm Robins Kaplan and who represented 50 Cent, said he was pleased with the decision that “vindicated” 50 Cent from any claim of infringement.

“The plaintiff in the case claimed that he was the owner of the underlying beat of the track, but the appeals court affirmed an earlier ruling that the plaintiff had waited too long to raise his complaint,” he added.

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