Parliament funk pioneer George Clinton is suing hip-pop group the Black Eyed Peas for copyright infringement after the band allegedly twice sampled his 1979 hit “(Not Just) Knee Deep” — first for a 2003 single and again on their Grammy-nominated 2009 comeback album, The E.N.D..
According to the complaint, filed on Friday in US District Court in Los Angeles and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Clinton’s song wound up in remixes of the Black Eyed Peas’ “Shut Up,” first released in 2003.
“(Not Just) Knee Deep” appeared on his 1979 album Uncle Jam Wants You and ran more than 15 minutes long. Upon release, the hit rose to No. 1 on Billboard’s Black Singles Chart and went on to be sampled by host of artists such as, De La Soul, LL Cool J, MC Hammer, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac.
The Reporter writes: “…. Clinton became aware of the Black Eyed Peas’ use of his old song when a record producer for the band came to him in 1999 and requested a license for a new remix of ‘Shut Up.’ Clinton says he rejected the request, not knowing at the time that his song had already been sampled by the band in a prior version. He says the sample was used by the Peas anyway on the album The E.N.D., which was nominated in 2009 for a an album of the year Grammy.”
Clinton has filed a copyright suit against members of the Black Eyed Peas (that means you too, Fergie), their Universal Music Group label, and Cherry Lane music publisher for allegedly sampling his song. He is seeking maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement and an court-ordered injunction prohibiting further distribution of “Shut Up” and its samples.