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I Stole It, It is Mine

Written By a Law Clerk for Lagomarsino Law: Robert Maxey
The United States enjoys a high level of intellectual property law and its enforcement. We can afford some success of our country to intellectual property law, which is essential to the progress and movement of our economy. Copyrights and patents allow for people to proceed with their business without worrying about having their ideas stolen. This area of the law provides a safe haven and foundation that is necessary if society is to build itself up.

In countries that have weak intellectual property rights or enforcement, many people are discouraged to come up with new products. The logic, which is easy to follow, is “If I develop a new product or a new idea, someone can easily steal it and I will be put out of business.” Weak patent laws therefore compound the problems of emerging nations, which wish to be competitive in the global economy.

Recently Orrin Lynn Tolliver was awarded $1,200,000 in a lawsuit regarding his intellectual property. Tolliver is a disc jockey and a former rap artist who had worked with a friend, James McCants, to produce a song called “I Need A Freak.” After the song had been completed it was registered with BMI and Tolliver was given credit as the songwriter and was to be paid 75% of royalties. Despite this agreement, the song was released on a compilation titled “In Da Beginning…There Was Rap” which induced Tolliver to issue a cease-and desist letter. However, McCants said that he had not issued a license for the compilation. Tolliver’s song was then sampled by the Black Eyed Peas on their song “My Humps.” It was this act that forced Tolliver to sue McCants for copyright infringement.

During the case McCants frequently changed his story about the reasons for why he had not issued the 75% of royalties that he had promised. He tried to say he owned the song, that he didn’t issue a license and finally that the song was never sampled to begin with. The judge rule in favor of Tolliver and a jury awarded him $816,877.28 for profits and $368,704.31 for copyright infringement.

It only makes sense that if you make or produce something then it should belong to you. This is the premise of intellectual property law and it hold the most true when another is profiting off of your work. Frequently people have their ideas and work stolen and as decided by a judge McCants was exactly guilty of this. It is unethical to take someone else’s work and receive the benefits for yourself but fortunately within our country it is also illegal and there are legal remedies to receive what you are justly owed.

A full article can be found here: DJ wins $1 million in lawsuit over “My Humps” song

Our law firm does not represent anybody in this incident. The commentary is for educational purposes only. If you or someone you know has a business related dispute and would like to be represented by a Las Vegas Lawyer, contact our office for a free confidential case review and receive a response within hours. Call Toll Free 866-414-0400