- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Sean “Diddy” Combs is getting a bad rap from Stanford Law Professor Anthony Falzone (pictured, not Diddy) for the hip-hop impresario’s defense of a copyright infringement suit. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a jury verdict that Bad Boy Records, the label founded by Combs, improperly used a sample in the title track of late rapper Notorious B.I.G.’s 1994 album “Ready to Die.” Bridgeport Music v. Justin Combs Publishing. Bad Boy did not assert a defense of fair use — and that bugs Falzone, whose specialty is, of course, fair use law.
“[I]f sampling has been a critical component of hip-hop music for three decades, its legality remains surprisingly unclear — and artists and producers like Combs share the blame for that,” Falzone, director of Stanford’s Fair Use Project, writes in a recent Slate magazine article. He goes on to ask:
Why would Combs, one of the biggest names in hip-hop, fail to defend sampling? Maybe it was simply inadvertence. Maybe it was a strategic decision (albeit a very bad one, as it turned out). Or maybe it was more calculating. Combs and his label can afford to pay for samples. Many aspiring artists and their fledgling labels — the next generation of would-be moguls hungry to unseat Diddy — cannot. Maybe Diddy cares more about the benefit of reduced competition than defending the work of the artist and the technique that helped create his empire. Tell us, Diddy, what were you thinking?
Richard S. Busch of King & Ballow in Nashville represents Bad Boy in the Bridgeport case. We’ve got an email into Busch, hopefully we’ll get a response.
UPDATED: Busch kindly emailed us back with this response to Falzone:
I did not read what [Falzone] said, but “fair use” has absolutely no application, since it applies generally where intellectual property is used for educational purposes, or to parody another work. It does not apply where someone steals someone else’s property for commercial use and to make money. The lawyers representing Bad Boy did not even raise Fair Use at the trial, or appeal, since it clearly has no application.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day