One day after taking legal aim at Napster, Dr. Dre is now the target of a high-profile legal salvo himself.
George Lucas’ Lucasfilm, Ltd. production company is suing Dre and charging the hip-hop impresario with various copyright and trademark wrongdoings.
Lucasfilm’s suit, which seeks unspecified damages, hinges on Dre’s use of something called the “THX Deep Note,” a sound trademarked by Lucas’ company. According to Lucasfilm, the sound is the first ever to be trademarked; it should be familiar to moviegoers as the sound that accompanies the THX logo before films screened in theaters with THX sound systems.
It should also be familiar to rap fans as the sound that opens Dre’s album “Dr. Dre 2001,” which is precisely the problem, according to Lucasfilm. The production company claims that Dre used the sound without the company’s permission, prompting Lucasfilm to file the suit against the rapper as well as his Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records.
A spokesperson for Dre’s lawyer claimed that the rapper had not yet been served with the suit, and a spokesperson for Interscope offered no comment on the case.
The suit comes on the heels of news that Dre had issued a warning to Napster, Inc., giving the music distribution site until Friday to remove all of his tracks from its pool of potential downloads (see “Dr. Dre Slaps Napster With Warning” ).