Peas “Powed” With Double-Punch of Lawsuits - Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
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Peas “Powed” With Double-Punch of Lawsuits

Peas “Powed” With Double-Punch of Lawsuits

The Black Eyed Peas, the popular hip-hop act behind recent radio smashes “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling,” may be getting a sinking feeling after being served with a duo of lawsuits accusing the group of copyright infringement.  Over the past two years, the Peas have enjoyed massive popular and critical success.  “Boom Boom Pow” hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in March of 2009 and stayed there for twelve consecutive weeks.  The song was then immediately replaced by “Feeling,” which extended the group’s reign on the chart for an unprecedented fourteen additional weeks.  To date, “Feeling” has sold more than six million digital copies.  It was recently recognized as the top-selling song in digital history.

The first lawsuit brought against the Black Eyed Peas was filed in the Federal District Court in Orange County by Texas songwriter Bryan Pringle.  In his Complaint, Pringle alleges that the Peas and others (including DJ/producer David Guetta, UMG Recordings, Inc. and Interscope Records) “willfully copied, or encouraged and/or instructed the copying of, Plaintiff’s song ‘Take a Dive,’ when they wrote their world-wide hit . . . ‘I Gotta Feeling.’”  Pringle claims that he repeatedly submitted “Take a Dive” to record labels, including Interscope, with “a good faith expectation that the song would only be listened to for legitimate business purposes and that his ownership and financial rights in the song would be protected.”  He is seeking monetary damages, including all profits received by the Defendants from the song, and an injunction “to enjoin the public performance and distribution” of the song.

The second suit was originally filed in Chicago in January, but was refiled in October in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California.  According to plaintiffs Pheonix Phenom and Manfred Mohr, “substantial original constituent elements” of their song “Boom Dynamite” were copied and used in “Boom Boom Pow” after Plaintiffs submitted the song to Defendant Interscope Records.

This is not the first time the Peas have faced accusations of copyright infringement.  Just last year, DJ/producer Adam Freeland threatened to sue the Peas, claiming that the group had ripped the beat of their song “Party All the Time” from his own track, “Mancry.”  Freeland and the Peas reportedly settled out-of-court, although details have not been disclosed.

The Plaintiffs in both cases are being represented by the law firm of Miller Canfield.  The Peas have not yet responded to requests from the media for a reaction.

Keith Hammeran