A U.S. District Court Judge in Nashville has ruled in favor of Master P’s No Limit Films, one of more than 800 original defendants, including music publishers, copyright administrators, record labels, and performing rights organizations, in a copyright infringement lawsuit involving 476 songs brought last year by Michigan-based Bridgeport Music Group.
In an effort to streamline the proceedings, the court in July divided the defendants into 476 separate cases, of which No Limit is the first settlement. Bridgeport’s publishing and label units control songs and master recordings that include significant material originally written and performed by George Clinton with his Parliament and Funkadelic outfits. The material has long served as a popular sampling resource for rap and hip-hop acts.
In last week’s ruling, Judge Thomas Higgins found that No Limit had the necessary licenses to use the N.W.A rap song “100 Miles and Runnin” in its 1998 film “I Got the Hook Up.” In addition, Higgins ruled that there was insufficient sampling of Clinton’s song “Get off Your Ass and Jam” in “100 Miles” to warrant an infringement claim.
Clinton sued Bridgeport in 1999, attempting to reclaim the rights to the music he wrote between 1976 and 1983. In January 2001, a U.S. District Court judge in Tallahassee, Fla., ruled in favor of Bridgeport, barring Clinton from profiting from the songs.