On April 19th, Ivory Paynes filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District Of Louisiana against rapper GloRilla for copyright infringement, claiming that GloRilla used elements of his song "Street of Westbank" without permission in her hit songs "Tomorrow" and "Tomorrow 2."
In the court documents, Paynes alleges that GloRilla "misappropriated many of the recognizable and key protected elements of the Plaintiff's works into their infringing works." He is seeking compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages as a result of the alleged unauthorized exploitation of his copyrighted musical works.
Copyright infringement occurs when someone uses a copyrighted work without permission from the owner. This can include using parts of the work or the whole work without authorization. Hip Hop is built off the art of sampling, so rappers are always in danger of facing these types of lawsuits if they, their producers, and the label do not make sure to cross all those "t" and dot every "i."
In the case of Ivory Paynes versus GloRilla, Paynes claims that GloRilla and her producer used recognizable and protected elements of his song without authorization. This is a serious allegation and, if proven, could result in significant damages for GloRilla. In reference, Nicki Minaj ended up owing singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman $450K in a copyright case involving a sample.
Compensatory damages are designed to compensate the copyright owner for any losses they suffered as a result of the infringement. Statutory damages are a set amount the court can award even if the copyright owner cannot prove actual damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the infringer and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior.
GloRilla, who just released the music video for her song "Unh Unh," has not responded publicly to this lawsuit.
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