One day before Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys died, he and other members of The Beastie Boys were sued for illegally sampling music.
The claims are made in a federal lawsuit filed in New York federal court by TufAmerica. They say it is the exclusive administrator of the recordings “Say What” and “Drop the Bomb,” performed by the group Trouble Funk. Some of you might know them as the 80’s go go band Trouble Funk. Last Thursday, TufAmerica dropped the bomb on the three Beasties along with Universal Music, Brooklyn Dust Music and Capitol Records with allegations that copyrighted recordings were illicitly used on the Beasties’ 1986 album “License to Ill” and the 1989 album “Paul’s Boutique.”
It’s unlikely that Yauch, aka MCA, was ever served papers in this case before he died. The sound recordings were created more than 20 years ago, which figures to represent a battle whether the statute of limitations had passed on the plaintiff’s claims.TufAmerica says it was never disclosed to them that the sample had been used by Beastie Boys and that the “defendants purposely concealed the integration” of the samples.
Capitol Records re-released Paul’s Boutique in “remixed and remastered” form in 2009. In addition to “Shadrach,” the plaintiffs say that the album also featured an unauthorized “Drop the Bomb” sample on the track “Car Thief” and that the “Drop the Bomb” sample was also used on the Licensed to Ill songs “Hold It Now Hit It” and “The New Style.” TufAmerica is suing for copyright infringement, unjust enrichment and misappropriation. The plaintiff wants a permanent injunction enjoining the defendants from continuing to infringe the samples, plus punitive damages.