Notorious B.I.G.’s estate executors launch preemptive copyright suit

Executors of Notorious B.I.G.’s estate have filed a preemptive lawsuit to protect the late rapper from allegations of copyright infringement over a song he released 20 years ago. Estate officials decided to take the first legal step on Monday (31Mar14) after allegedly receiving threats of court action from publishing bosses in charge of soul singer Leroy Hutson’s songs.
The label executives claim Biggie’s Ready to Die track, The What, featured parts of Hutson’s 1974 tune Can’t Say Enough About Mom, which he wrote with Michael Hawkins.
The hip-hop icon’s representatives accept the track was sampled, but insist it equates to ‘fair use’, as only “two nonsequential tones” were featured in The What, a collaboration with rapper Method Man and producer Easy Mo Bee.
The plaintiffs are asking a California judge to bar Hutson’s publishers from taking their own legal action against the estate over the song, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Biggie’s estate is managed by his mother, Voletta Wallace, and his widow, singer Faith Evans.
The legendary rapper was killed in 1997.