An Indian composer has won a court injunction halting the sale of Dr. Dre protégé Truth Hurts’ debut album and single based on claims that the hit song, “Addictive,” sampled one of his compositions without credit.
A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled on Monday that “Addictive” must be removed from shelves unless composer Bappi Lahiri’s name is added to the credits, according to Lahiri’s attorney, Geoffrey Spellberg.
Likening the unauthorized sampling of the song to “cultural imperialism,” Lahiri filed suit against Dre, his Aftermath Records label, and parent company Interscope/Universal Music Group, citing uncredited use of the Hindi song “Thoda Resham Lagta Hai,” composed by Lahiri for the 1987 Indian film “Jhoothi.”
Lahiri is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $1 million as a result of the failure to give credit and the loss of his ability to properly promote his music in the United States, Spellberg said. The figure represents a combination of the profits Lahiri’s attorneys said the sales of Truth Hurts’ music has reaped for Universal along with the losses suffered by their client. Universal was given the choice of pulling all product from the shelves or affixing a sticker with Lahiri’s credit on copies of the album still in stores. An Interscope spokesperson said the label had no comment on the judgment.
The composer claimed that the song’s producer, West Coast rapper DJ Quik, sampled more than four minutes of Lahiri’s track on “Addictive”; Truth Hurts’ debut album, Truthfully Speaking, has sold more than 324,000 copies, according to SoundScan.
In September, an attorney for the Indian label that released Lahiri’s original version filed a $500 million copyright infringement suit against Dre and Universal/Interscope in Texas (see “Dr. Dre, Interscope Stung With $500 Million Lawsuit Over ’Addictive'” ). The lawsuit was recently transferred to Los Angeles and is awaiting a trial date, according to Spellberg.
Dre’s attorney, Howard King, said he had not seen Monday’s verdict and was not involved in the hearing. “Because Dre didn’t write, produce or perform on the song, but the album happens to be on his label, he was named as a defendant,” King said. “He had zero to do with the creative elements and the use or non-use of any particular work.”
For his part, Quik said he stumbled upon the track on television.
“I woke up one morning, … I turned on the TV and landed on this Hindi channel and just turned it up real loud,” Quik explained last summer. “There was a commercial on, and I just got up and went into the bathroom and started brushing my teeth. … Before I knew it, I was grooving. … [The beat on the TV] was just in my body. I went back in there and looked at the TV — there was a girl on there belly dancing, just like real fly. So I pushed record on the VCR.”
According to a statement from Lahiri’s lawyers, a similar version of “Addictive” with credit to the songwriter has been marketed by Universal in India. “Since Universal does give the credit when selling into the Indian market where Mr. Lahiri is hugely popular, and then fails to give credit on U.S. sales, it appears to us that Universal is only interested in providing the appropriate musical credit if Universal perceives a financial advantage,” wrote Lahiri’s co-counsel, Anthony Kornarens, in a statement issued after the ruling Monday.
Unless the stickering takes place or Universal mounts a successful appeal, the injunction will stand until a June 17 trial date.