The fear of any sample-based producer is the dreaded “copyright infringement” lawsuit. With the passing of Beastie Boys member Adam “MCA” Yauch, albums sales for the group have shot up this week. In comes in Tuff City claiming The Beastie Boys used portions of several Trouble Funk songs without seeking clearance or paying for rights.
The reality is, the claim is probably accurate. However, the issue comes in, in that the Beastie Boys songs that sampled Trouble Funk were created prior (1986-1989) to laws making the lawsuit a fairly easy win.
The Huffington Post has a great article outlining the specifics of the lawsuit. Not mentioned in the article is some background on Tuff City. By way of a tweet by Davy D, I saw Roy C’s website which states the following:
Any Person or Company that has been SUED by Aaron Fuchs / Tuff AMERICA/ Tuff Tunes/ Tuff City/ Tuff “N” Rumble please contact Roy C (803) 584-3704 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
BMI removed songs from my catalog based on fraudulent contracts presented by Aaron Fuchs. 100% of my publishing money is being collected by Swing Beats Music BMI / Aaron Fuchs. Not one dime of this money has been paid to me.
For those who don’t know, Roy C. is one of the people behind the classic break “Impeach the President” by the Honey Drippers. The rights to the song were allegedly purchased by Tuff City at one point.