If 50 Cent were to rewrite the lyrics to his 2003 hit "P.I.M.P." today, they'd probably go a little something like this: "I don't know what you heard about me / but a plaintiff can't get a dollar out of me."
The popular rap track is at the center of a legal battle, but in a Monday filing attorneys for the labels described the suit as nothing more than a misguided attempt to turn a royalty dispute into a federal copyright case.
Brandon Parrott sued Curtis Jackson, better known as 50 Cent, in June, claiming "P.I.M.P." infringes on his composition "BAMBA." Parrott is suing for copyright infringement, unjust enrichment and fraud and is asking the court to order an accounting of profits from the song and related albums and an injunction to keep defendants from exploiting "P.I.M.P." until Parrott receives proper credit and consideration. Producer Denaun Porter, Attorney Zach Katz, UMG Recordngs, Interscope, Aftermath Records, Shady Records and EMI Music Publishing are also named as defendants.
Attorneys for the labels, Andrew Bart and Daniel Rozanski, argue their clients should be dismissed "because Parrott has not pled a single factual allegation that would support a finding that the UMG Defendants ever communicated with Parrott, let alone acted fraudulently toward him."
Parrott says in 2001 he sent a CD containing 10 of his tracks, including two co-produced with Porter, to Dr. Dre (Andre Young) at Aftermath Records. Two years later, he says Porter told him "BAMBA" was used to create "P.I.M.P." and they had mistakenly failed to credit him or obtain his permission. In March 2003, according to the complaint, they tricked him into entering a settlement and mutual release agreement. "Defendants were well aware that Defendant Porter was not the sole author of these tracks and intentionally released the tracks without providing credit or proper compensation to Brandon Parrott," writes Parrot, who is representing himself in the lawsuit.
The labels argue these issues were resolved by the settlement and Parrott has been collecting royalties for more than a decade.
"In the Co-Producer Agreement, the parties agreed, inter alia, that they had co-produced the 50 Cent Track, that Parrott’s contributions to the 50 Cent Track were now the property of Porter who was free to use them as he saw fit and to authorize others to do so, and that Parrott licensed the use of any of his musical compositions that were embodied in the 50 Cent Track," Bart writes. "In exchange, Parrott received a monetary advance, an ownership share in the copyrighted musical composition underlying the 50 Cent Track, as well as 65% of Porter’s producer royalties on income derived from the exploitation of the 50 Cent Track."
Further the labels claim the terms of that settlement dictate Parrott can't sue. "Parrott did more than simply release all claims," Bart writes. "He expressly acknowledged and represented 'that no promise, representation, or inducement not expressed herein has been made in connection with this Agreement.'”
Jackson's attorneys in August requested a stay in light of his ongoing chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
Erica Tucker, Parrott's business manager, is named as a co-plaintiff in the suit. Bart has asked the court to dismiss her from the case for lack of standing as she is not a party to any of the agreements at issue.
A hearing is currently set for Oct. 31.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter