Court Renews Copyright Case Against Timberlake

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on June 08, 2018 12:39 PM

If you know Milli Vanilli, Justin Timberlake is no Milli Vanilli.

The Milli duo lost their Grammy because they didn't actually sing their award-winning song. They went down as the best lip syncers, instead.

Timberlake, at least, sings his songs. However, a federal appeals court says he might owe another band for sampling their song.

"Sho Nuff"

Sly Slick & Wicked, a soul-funk group, recorded "Sho Nuff" in 1973. In 2016, they sued Timberlake for alleging he used it for his "Suit & Tie" recording.

John "Sly" Wilson and Charles "Slick" Still had filed the original copyright in 1973, and renewed their claims with Mark "Wicked" Sexton in 2015. A federal judge dismissed their claims based on the statute of limitations.

But the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals said the time-bar didn't apply to claims based on the renewed copyright.

Lita Rosario, who represents the plaintiffs, told Courthouse News that they have a "very strong, winnable case." She said it will also help other artists who have copyrights for pre-1978 recordings.

Pre-1978

Section 304 of the Copyright Act provides that authors who are living when their original 28-year copyright expires are entitled to renew and extend the copyright another 67 years.

"Sho' Nuff" was released on People Records, a label set up by James Brown. The record was a hit, making it to the era-epic "Soul Train."

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