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French Montana Wins Copyright Infringement Case, Judge Offers Encouragement



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Earlier this year, French Montana faced a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by emerging hip-hop artist Hotwire The Producer, aka Eddie Lee Richardson. Richardson claimed that French Montana sampled his work on “Ain’t Worried About Nothin'” without permission, seeking $5 million in damages. While French Montana emerged victorious in the case this week, the judge’s comments came with a touch of skepticism.

Illinois federal Judge Nancy L. Maldonado dismissed the lawsuit, acknowledging it as a “technical win” for French Montana but cautioning against claiming it as a substantial victory. In her ruling, Judge Maldonado offered words of encouragement to Richardson, suggesting that imitation could be seen as flattery. She expressed hope that Richardson wouldn’t be discouraged in his musical pursuits and encouraged him to gain a better understanding of copyright law.

While acknowledging that Richardson’s evidence was insufficient to establish copyright infringement, Judge Maldonado pointed out a crucial factor in the case. Richardson admitted to having a sound recording copyright and not one for a musical composition. This admission, according to the judge, meant he lacked exclusive rights in the generic sounds or melodies of the work in question.

The judge emphasized that had Richardson registered the copyright for his musical composition, the outcome might have been different. In that scenario, Richardson’s expert evidence on the similarity of sounds or melodies could potentially have led to a trial. However, with only a sound recording registration, his means for establishing infringement were limited.

French Montana’s victory in the copyright case is noteworthy, and the judge’s comments underscore the importance of a comprehensive understanding of copyright law in the music industry. What are your thoughts on French Montana’s win and the judge’s remarks? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

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