Nearly three decades after Beastie Boys sample-heavy tour de force Paul’s Boutique was released, a court has ruled that they will not be owing any money for alleged unauthorized sampling of D.C. go-go group Trouble Funk issues by the label TufAmerica.
Stereogum reported that the case was won on a technicality in that TufAmerica only made deals with two of the three members of Trouble Funk, when they should have made deals with all three before filing suit. Unlike the other big intellectual property case ubiquitous in the news this month, there is no kind of precedent set up by this decision.
In what has been an on-going trial, initially filed in 2012, the case hit several snags along the way to this recent decision. There were six samples indicated, the most prominent being Trouble Funk’s “Let’s Get Small” which was featured in Beastie Boys’ “Hold it Now Hit It.” The sample took up 50+ seconds of the song, however according to the report issued by the Hollywood Reporter, Judge Alison Nathan (who also ruled in favor of Beastie Boys today) explains that she “cannot conclude from the papers before it or the songs themselves that the chord is not copyrightable.”
Regardless of the history behind the lawsuit, the fact that TufAmerica does not have an exclusive license over Trouble Funk, the suit was ruled in favor of the Beastie Boys.