Migos has prevailed in the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by a North Carolina-based artist.
In a decision handed down Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Analisa Torres dismissed the complaint filed last October by rapper Leander Pickett (aka M.O.S.), who claimed the hip-hop group’s 2018 single “Walk It Talk it” infringed the copyright of his 2008 song “Walk It Like I Talk It.”
Torres agreed with defendants that the only similarity between the two tracks — the lyric “walk it like I talk it” — is a “short and commonplace phrase” that is not protectable under copyright law. She additionally noted that because the phrase was used in a variety of other songs recorded prior to Pickett’s — including Paul Wall’s “March ‘n’ Step,” Young Jeezy’s “3 A.M.” and Wiz Khalifa’s “Be Easy” — the phrase is not original to him and therefore does not qualify for copyright protection.
“The only meaningful similarity between Plaintiff’s Work and Defendant’s Work is that the lyrics ‘walk it like I talk it’ form each song’s chorus, or hook,” the decision reads. “Having carefully listened to the two songs, the Court concludes that the similarity between the two works concerns only ‘unprotectible elements’ of Plaintiff’s Work.”
Torres additionally dismissed the complaint on grounds that Pickett failed to properly register a copyright for the composition prior to filing the suit, which is required for a copyright complaint to move forward.
In a statement sent to Billboard, Pickett’s lawyer Dana Whitfield said the rapper’s legal team is “exploring options for an appeal” of the decision.
Migos consists of Quavious Marshall (aka Quavo), Kiari Cephus (aka Offset) and Kirsnick Ball (aka Takeoff). Other defendants named in Pickett’s suit include the group’s record label Quality Control Music, distributor Capitol Records, Migos Touring Inc. and “Walk It Talk It” producers Joshua Parker (aka OG Parker) and Grant Decouto (aka Deko).
“Walk It Talk It” features guest vocals from Drake and peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.