The rapper says the “Party Rock Anthem” lyrics are an illegal “derivative” of his phrase, “Everyday I’m hustlin’,” from his 2006 debut single.
Shufflin’ rhymes with hustlin’, and now there’s some legal fussin’.
Hip hop superstar Rick Ross, along with Jermaine Jackson, have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against LMFAO, the Los Angeles-based electronic pop duo of Stefan Kendal Gordy (Redfoo) and Skyler Austen Gordy (Sky Blu). Kobalt Music Publishing and Kia Motors America are also defendants. You can read the complaint here.
At issue is LMFAO’s chart-topping 2010 song, “Party Rock Anthem,” which contains the phrase, “Everyday I’m shufflin’,” in the chorus.
Ross says he got there first on his own chart-topper, “Hustlin’,” which contains the lyric, “Everyday I’m hustlin.'” The song was released on Ross’ 2006 debut album, Port of Miami.
According to a lawsuit filed in Florida federal court, “The use of Hustlin’ in ‘Party Rock Anthem’ is readily apparent, despite the slight change from ‘Everyday I’m hustlin’ …’ to ‘Everyday I’m shufflin’…” and constitutes, inter alia, the creation of an unauthorized derivative work.”
It’s further alleged by the plaintiffs that the phrase is “performed in a manner to sound like” Ross’ own, and “is an obvious attempt to capitalize on the fame and success of Hustlin’.
Rick Ross, who just last week gained a First Amendment victory in a dispute with famed drug dealer “Freeway” Ricky Ross, says that LMFAO has shuffled off with a qualitatively distinct, important and original portion of his own song. He says “Party Rock Anthem” has not only sold 7.5 million copies, but also has been licensed for numerous films, television programs, video games, advertisements for airlines and more.
“The phrase is so important to the success of ‘Party Rock Anthem,’ that LMFAO launched a highly successful clothing line, Party Rock Clothing, that features the phrase on T-shirts and other clothing items,” says the lawsuit.
Represented by attorneys at GrayRobinson, the plaintiffs say that the defendants have been notified of the alleged infringement but have ignored warnings. Ross is now seeking an injunction and maximum statutory damages. Representatives for LMFAO weren’t immediately available for comment.