×

Drake Beats Appeal in ‘Pound Cake’ Sample Lawsuit

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed today that Drake’s use of the 1982 recording “Jimmy Smith Rap” in his song “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2” was fair use of the copyrighted work. Drake’s song appeared on his 2013 album “Nothing Was the Same.”

The decision is unusual, not only because fair-use rulings are rare in songwriting cases, but also because in this era courts are largely favoring plaintiffs in cases like Robin Thicke and Pharrell’s “Blurred Lines” and Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse.” The news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

The order goes into substantial detail in looking at the passage in question, which features Drake and Jay-Z rapping. Taking on one element of fair use, it reads, “A work is transformative when it ‘uses the copyrighted material itself for a purpose, or imbues it with a character, different from that for which it was created.’ ‘Pound Cake’ does just that. The message of the ‘Jimmy Smith Rap’ is one about the supremacy of jazz to the derogation of other types of music, which — unlike jazz — will not last. On the other hand, ‘Pound Cake’ sends a counter message — that it is not jazz music that reigns supreme, but rather all ‘real music,’ regardless of genre. Beyond the text of the lyrics themselves, ‘Pound Cake’ situates its sampling of approximately thirty-five seconds of the ‘Jimmy Smith Rap’ at the beginning of an approximately seven-minute-long hip-hop song in which Drake and Shawn Carter, professionally known as Jay-Z, rap about the greatness and authenticity of their work. Through both the alteration of the ‘Jimmy Smith Rap’ and the rest of the rap’s lyrics, ‘Pound Cake’ emphasizes that it is not the genre but the authenticity of the music that matters. In this manner, ‘Pound Cake’ criticizes the jazz-elitism that the ‘Jimmy Smith Rap’ espouses. By doing so, it uses the copyrighted work for ‘a purpose, or imbues it with a character, different from that for which it was created.’”

Got all that? In looking at another factor, essentially whether Drake’s recording competes commercially with “Jimmy Smith Rap,” the court determined the songs appeal to different audiences.

 

More Music

  • The Eddy

    'The Eddy': TV Review

    “Jazz is Paris and Paris is jazz,” spoke-sang Malcolm McLaren a quarter-century ago, though the statement is valid as ever today: Since the end of World War I, when a number of African American soldiers settled in Paris — and still others left their music behind — the city has become a kind of world [...]

  • GREEN DAY

    Green Day Cancels Tour Dates in Asia Due to Coronavirus

    Green Day has canceled scheduled tour dates in Asia due to the coronavirus epidemic. The band’s Hella Mega tour would have taken them throughout the continent in March — and in countries with confirmed cases of the virus — starting in Singapore and stopping in Bangkok, Manila, Taipei, Hong Kong, Seoul, Osaka and Tokyo. The [...]

  • Beyonce Kobe Bryant Performance

    Ken Ehrlich on the Kobe Bryant Memorial Service's 'Transcendent' Music Moments

    Ken Ehrlich produced his final Grammy telecast Jan. 26 … and, through the sad fluke of Kobe Bryant dying the day of the show, there was a direct segue to the first live broadcast of Ehrlich’s post-Grammys career, when his company was asked to assist with the Kobe Bryant memorial Feb. 24. The veteran is [...]

  • Editorial use only. Hand Out HANDOUT

    BTS Cancels Korea Concerts Due to Coronavirus

    BTS has canceled concerts planned for Korea, the group announced on Thursday, Feb. 27, due to concerns about the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. According to a post on an official BTS Twitter (@bts_bighit), “Map of the Soul” tour shows scheduled for April 11, 12, 18 and 19 at Seoul’s Jamsil Olympic Stadium have been called off, [...]

  • La Vita Nuova album Christine and

    Christine and the Queens' 'La Vita Nuova': EP Review

    With stellar albums from Charli XCX, Caroline Polachek, Selena Gomez and Grimes over the past few months, it’s been a hot stretch for the genre inaccurately but conveniently labelled “alt-pop” — and joining the group is this surprise release from France’s Christine and the Queens, who recently collaborated with two of the above artists. Her [...]

  • Former C3 Promoter Charlie Jones Launches

    Former C3 Promoter Charlie Jones Launches Four Leaf Productions

    Charlie Jones, a veteran producer who has worked extensively on the Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits festivals, is today officially launching his new venture, Four Leaf Productions, which is described as “a new company built on a foundation of creating live experiences that bring people together for a purpose.” Over the course of his [...]

  • Radio Placeholder

    Veteran KROQ Program Director Kevin Weatherly Exits Entercom

    Kevin Weatherly, who made his mark at L.A.’s leading alternative station KROQ and has been a renowned radio programmer for nearly three decades, is leaving his post as SVP programming at Entercom for a reported new post at Spotify, which a source suggests will likely be in an editorial capacity. Weatherly originally joined KROQ as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content