Beastie Boys are once again being sued over their alleged use of unlicensed samples. The rappers used parts of two songs by the US go-go band Trouble Funk without permission, according to papers filed just one day before the death of Adam Yauch.
Yauch, his Beastie bandmates, and their labels are all named in a lawsuit by Tuf America, the company that represents Trouble Funk. The suit alleges that Trouble Funk’s tracks Drop the Bomb and Say What, both issued in 1982, were sampled repeatedly by Beastie Boys in the late 80s. The lawsuit was filed in New York federal court on Friday. Yauch died on Saturday morning.
According to Tuf America’s complaint, the Beasties’ song Shadrachallegedly samples Say What, while Drop the Bomb is apparently used on two tracks from the rappers’ debut album, as well as on Car Thief, from 1989’s Paul’s Boutique. Although the statute of limitation for copyright infringement has passed, Tuf America say the Beastie Boys never declared the samples had been used, and accuse the group of “purposely concealing the integration” of Trouble Funk’s original music. “Only after conducting a careful audio analysis of Shadrach,” they wrote, “[were we] able to determine that Shadrach incorporates the Say What sample.”
Despite Tuf America’s allegations, all of the Beastie Boys’ Trouble Funk samples have been noted on the website Who Sampled – and onWikipedia – for some time. The Beastie Boys’ labels did attempt to license all of the samples on their records, even before 1991’s landmark sampling case between Gilbert O’Sullivan and Biz Markie.
Tuf America alleges copyright infringement, unjust enrichment and misappropriation. In addition to seeking punitive damages, it has requested a permanent injunction forbidding the Beastie Boys from selling recordings that contain these samples.