CHICAGO (CN) – Two songwriters say the Black Eyed Peas swiped segments of their tune, “Boom Dynamite,” to create the group’s hit, “Boom Boom Pow.” Ebony Latrice Batts, aka Phoenix Phenom, and her co-writer and manager Manny Mohr say they submitted their song “Boom Dynamite” to the Peas’ record label, only to discover that the Peas came out with a “strikingly similar” song one and a half years later.
In their federal complaint, Batts and Mohr say they wrote “Boom Dynamite” in 2007, and that Batts filmed a music video for the song, which was published on You Tube.
“Boom Dynamite” was played on several Chicago radio stations, and was available through iTunes, Amazon.com and in the international marketplace, the songwriting duo claims.
Batts and Mohr say they submitted their songs to the Black Eyes Peas’ record label, Interscope, hoping the band’s singer Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson might agree to collaborate with Batts, adding “star power” to her music.
They say that Batts’ record label marketed their songs, emailing a link for the “Boom Dynamite” video to major record label executives, including the vice president of Interscope. Batts and Mohr say Interscope showed interest in the music and passed the video along to the band.
Around March 2009, “approximately a year and a half after Manny submitted ‘Boom Dynamite’ to Interscope and one year after ‘Boom Dynamite’ was released, the Black Eyed Peas released the song ‘Boom Boom Pow’ as the first single off the group’s fifth studio album, entitled The E.N.D.,” the complaint states.
Batts and Mohr say the Black Eyed Peas “intentionally and willfully copied ‘Boom Dynamite’ when they wrote and recorded ‘Boom Boom Pow.'”
Batts and Mohr say that both songs contain a “hook” that is “strikingly similar in major musical respects,” and that there is no way the Peas “could have written ‘Boom Boom Pow’ without directly copying ‘Boom Dynamite.'”
Batts and Mohr say that one month after the Peas’ song debut, Source Magazine and Urban Daily – “two major hip-hop and R&B magazines” – wrote about the similarities on its Web site, and also claimed that the Peas stole “Boom Dynamite.”
The Chicago songwriters say that “Boom Boom Pow” is the Black Eyed Peas’ “highest-selling” song so far, and its first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Grammy-nominated song was named “Song of the Year for 2009” by Billboard Magazine, according to the complaint.
“Boom Boom Pow” has been featured in nationwide commercials and in movies such as “G Force” and “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” the complaint adds.
Batts and Mohr claim that song theft is nothing new to the Black Eyed Peas, and that in the past the group has offered the suffering artist a nominal settlement, or would “just wear him/her down in expensive litigation.”
Batts and Mohr say they registered “Boom Dynamite” with the U.S. Copyright Office in April 2009. They seek damages for copyright infringement from the Black Eyed Peas, its individual members, and from Interscope Records and its owner Universal Music Group, music publishers EMI April Music, Headphone Junkie Publishing, and Will.I.Am Music.
Plaintiffs’ lead counsel is Ira Gould