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Timbaland Cleared in Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Last week, producer Timbaland was cleared of wrongdoing in a copyright infringement lawsuit for sampling a Bollywood song, which was used in rapper Game‘s single ‘Put You on the Game.’

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling set by a lower court, taking Timbo off the legal chopping block. A review of an Indian copyright statute of 1957, and other copyright documents, brought into question whether or not the plaintiff, Saregama India Ltd., owned the copyright to the song in question, ‘Baghor Mein Bahar Hai,’ from the 1969 Bollywood film ‘Aradhana.’

“Pre-recorded song covered by the Agreement — a right that became non-exclusive, and thus ceased being a copyright, at the conclusion of the Agreement’s two-year term,” Judge Jane A. Restani wrote in the precedential documents. “Thus even if BMBH were covered by the agreement (a question we need not decide), Saregama would not currently own a copyright in the BMBH sound recording and thus lacks statutory standing to bring this copyright infringement action. We, therefore, affirm the district court’s order granting summary judgment for the Defendants.”

According to the Hollywood Reporter, songs in old Bollywood films can belong to as many three separate owners: the first owner, who holds exclusive rights “to make any other sound recording embodying [the original sound recording],” the second owner who can “sell or give on hire, or offer for sale or hire, any copy of the sound recording,” and the third owner who has the right “to communicate the sound recording to the public.”

Therefore, even though Timbaland did loop three notes from the song in question, Saregama did not have the authority to file the suit.

Game released ‘Put You on the Game,’ in 2005, as the fourth single off his multi-platinum selling debut, ‘The Documentary.’


Watch The Game’s ‘Put You on the Game’

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