Friday, September 22, 2023
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Rap Star Video Makers Owe $535,000

MANHATTAN (CN) - After failing to defend a federal lawsuit, one of the makers of "Def Jam Rapstar" must stop selling the video game and fork over $535,000 to EMI and other record labels for copyright infringement -- if anyone can find them, a federal judge ruled Monday.

The infringed tunes included Brother Jack McDuff's "Oblighetto," Billy Squier's "The Big Beat," Daft Punk's "Harder Better Faster Stronger," Ice Cube's "It Was a Good Day," Tinie Tempah's "Pass Out," Luniz's "I Got Five On It," and Mims' "This Is Why I'm Hot."

EMI attorney Richard Roth indicated in a telephone interview that the next step would be finding the absentee video game maker 4MM Games, LLC.

"We're happy, and the question is, 'Can we find any gold at the end of the rainbow?'" asked Roth, the founder and partner of the Roth Law Firm.

In granting the award and injunction, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote summarized the 2-year-old case in a 5-page opinion.

In 2009, 4MM approached Capitol seeking to license the recordings, and Capitol proposed terms that included $78,375 in licensing fees and a royalty of 15 percent of the retail price charged for each download. No deal ever was executed, but 4MM used the songs anyway in the original game and additional downloadable content. The company sold 720,000 copies of the game, but the number of infringing recordings is unknown.

Capitol Records and other labels sued 4MM and other companies in 2012 for copyright infringement. Every other defendant settled, and 4MM never responded to the complaint or appeared in court.

Cote adopted findings that a magistrate made this year, recommending a $535,125 default judgment and an injunction against 4MM.

Speaking about efforts to locate the New York-based company, Roth said, "Let's say that so far, they have not been found."

Contact information for 4MM's lawyers did not appear on the Federal Court docket, and the company's website is defunct.

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