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Frank Ocean's 'Super Rich Kids' Named in Copyright Lawsuit

TufAmerica sues Universal over his 'Channel Orange' tune

February 11, 2014 10:15 AM ET
Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean
Erika Goldring/WireImage

TufAmerica, the record label that has filed copyright infringement lawsuits against Jay Z and Beastie Boys, filed a similar lawsuit involving Frank Ocean's Channel Orange track "Super Rich Kids" and its sample of Mary J. Blige's "Real Love."

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According to Hollywood Reporter, the litigious label brought a suit against Universal Music Group not over the Ocean song, but on claims that the song's Mary J. Blige sample itself illegally sampled the Honeydrippers' 1973 tune "Impeach the President."

"TufAmerica is the owner of rights in and to the recording 'Impeach the President,'" the lawsuit states. "Defendants have failed and refused to secure a license from TufAmerica for its share of the rights to use 'Real Love' in 'Super Rich Kids.'" In the lawsuit, the label said that it owns 3.15% of "Real Love" due to "a consequence of a series of agreements relating to 'Impeach the President.'"

The label hasn't revealed how much it is suing Universal for, but claims that they are "entitled to compensatory or statutory or punitive damages in an amount to be proven at trial."

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TufAmerica seems to be making a habit out of lawsuits. Last year, they sued Jay Z, Roc-A-Fella Records and Atlantic Records, claiming the rapper's 2009 hit "Run This Town" illegally sampled Eddie Bo's "Hook & Sling," a 1969 soul song which the label bought the rights to in the mid-1990s. In 2012, it sued West for using a sample from the same song on his 2010 record My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. At the time, TufAmerica claimed that although West's labels paid a licensing fee, they "failed and refused to enter into written license agreements that accounted for their multiple other uses of ['Hook and Sling']."

In an ill-timed 2012 suit, they filed a lawsuit against the Beastie Boys one day before Adam "MCA" Yauch's death, claiming that the group used the drums from Trouble Funk's 1982 song "Drop the Bomb" on Licensed to Ill's "The New Style" and "Hold It, Now Hit It," as well as Paul's Boutique track "Car Thief."

Representatives for Ocean and Universal declined to comment. 

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