Top Dawg Entertainment Loses Lawsuit to Canadian Rapper
A Canadian rapper recently represented himself in court and won a judgement against West Coast powerhouse label Top Dawg Entertainment, after the imprint and their parent labels Interscope Records and Universal Music Group had his song unlawfully removed from streaming services.
Jonathan Emile, a 30-year-old MC from Montreal, acquired a feature from Kendrick Lamar for the song “Heaven Help Dem” (above) from his The Lover/Fighter Document project in 2015. But, shortly after the song hit the Internet and started to gain steam, it was removed for alleged copyright infringement.
“We paid Kendrick Lamar for a feature, and once we paid them, they basically stopped communicating with us altogether," Emile tells Billboard. "It was understood that we’d take care of the paperwork with the lawyers, so we paid them and they basically disappeared... we couldn’t get in contact, so I just continued producing my album and with the verbal agreement we had, and we put out the song in 2015."
He continues, “After the song was put out, they placed a false copyright claim on the song itself and got it pulled from YouTube and SoundCloud and all that stuff. So, after going back and forth with these companies, they realized that they were in error and that there was no copyright claim on the song, but the damage had already been done and the momentum to promote the song had already been [lost]."
Seeking to clear his name, Emile sued and won a judgement of $8,600 CAD (roughly $6,400 USD) plus five percent interest.
The judgement was paid out about a month ago, but the case has been kept low key because Emil has not tried to capitalized off the moment by doing any press. “It was just picked up because it was looked at by different lawyers as an atypical case,” he said.
Emile is currently working on a new album titled Phantom Pain.
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