Lord Finesse hits Mac Miller with $10 million copyright lawsuit
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Mac Miller is facing a $10 million lawsuit over "Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza," a track he recorded on his way to fame two years when he was 18.
Lord Finesse, a 42-year-old rapper and producer from New York who has worked with the Notorious B.I.G., alleges that the Pittsburgh rapper unlawfully used his 1995 "Hip 2 Da Game" beat for a song that appeared on Miller's mixtape "K.I.D.S."
The complaint, filed Monday in the United States District Court Southern District of New York, claims that Miller, whose legal name is Malcolm McCormick, his label Rostrum Records and mixtape website DatPiff.com "willfully infringed [Finesse's] exclusive copyrights." It further alleges unfair competition, unjust enrichment, interference and deceptive trade practices.
"This is a case about a teenage rapper -- Mac Miller -- copying the music from a song written, produced and performed by Lord Finesse, a hip-hop legend, changing the title and then distributing it under his own name in order to launch his music career," according to the lawsuit.
Although the mixtape was offered for free, the plaintiff argues that it was been downloaded more than 500,000 times and that "Piff profits from the downloads of K.I.D.S. through the use of a message that appears stating that the mixtape is 'sponsored'; when K.I.D.S is downloaded an advertisement appears."
The lawsuit further states that the song is also sold as a digital download and Miller helped build his successful recording and touring career through the popularity of the song.
Benjy Grinberg, president of Rostrum Records, declined to comment.
Miller said through his Twitter account Wednesday: "1. I made that record and video as nothing more than an 18 year old kid who wanted to rhyme and pay homage, no other intentions."
He added, "2. Finesse and I spoke on the phone for an hour after he heard the record and cleared the air. We even planned to work on music together."
Miller also tweeted a message to this followers, "To my fans, don't be disrespectful. Finesse is a legend. If you have a problem with his actions be intelligent about it and be respectful."
Lord Finesse, whose legal name is Robert Hall, said on his own Twitter account: "1. I appreciate Mac's kind words but his people did not handle his business correctly. 2. Basics -- Mixtapes are one thing, but you can't take someone's else's entire song, shoot a music video and call it your own."
Lord Finesse is represented by Brian Levenson and Matthew Schwartz of Schwartz & Ponterio in New York. The firm did not return calls for comment.
First Published July 12, 2012 2:47 pm