Frank Ocean Sues Producer Om'Mas Keith Over 'Blonde' Songwriting Credits
The lawsuit claims Keith has misrepresented authorship on tracks including "Nikes," "Ivy" and "Pink + White."
Frank Ocean filed a lawsuit on Tuesday (Feb. 20) against producer Om'Mas Keith and his Analog Genius Corporation alleging he has wrongfully claimed authorship for several songs on the musician's Billboard 200 chart-topping 2016 album Blonde.
According to Ocean's suit, after the two parties had already entered into an oral agreement, in 2014 Keith refused to sign a draft agreement over his role in producing the album, including a provision that acknowledged he did not write any of the recorded compositions. He even allegedly refused to sign an acknowledgment that he had not written a recorded cover of The Isley Brothers' "(At Your Best) You Are Love."
The oral agreement was meant to replicate a deal that Ocean and Keith had signed in or around 2012 for production work on 14 tracks from Ocean's Channel Orange album, according to the lawsuit.
In 2016, Ocean's reps recommenced discussions with a new agreement regarding six recordings that wound up included on Blonde with the acknowledgement that Keith did not act as a writer on those songs. When that deal was refused, Ocean's reps asked Keith' team to provide detailed accounts of what contributions he did make to the compositions -- to which he did did not respond and instead filed registrations with ASCAP for 11 songs in total, including such Blonde tracks as "Nikes," "Ivy" and "Pink + White," which each charted on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Keith is currently listed as a writer on each of these songs on ASCAP's ACE Repertory search, but it is unclear what ownership percentage he is claiming.
As a result of Keith's allegedly misrepresentation as a writer on the songs, the suit states that Ocean has lost the ability to control their exploitation. Unless the court intervenes, it continues, Ocean "will be irreparably and permanently injured by the loss of the ability to control the exploitation thereof."
Ocean is seeking a judgment that Keith and other unnamed John Does do not own any portion of the songs' copyright rights and are not entitled to any legal or equitable interest or credit, as well as a cease to any misrepresenting that they wrote on any of the songs and attempts to license the material. Ocean is also seeking legal fees and any further relief the court deems appropriate.
Ocean is represented by Edwin F. McPherson of McPherson Rane LLP.
Keith's rep could not be reached for comment at time of publishing.