LOS ANGELES (CN) – A federal judge awarded Black Eyed Peas songwriter will.i.am $1 million in costs and attorney’s fees for defending against a claim that the band infringed copyright in the 2009 hit, “I Gotta Feeling.”
The judge awarded another $1.3 million in attorney’s fees to the band’s producer, and $50,000 to the record label.
Brian Pringle sued the band members in 2010, claiming the Black Eyed Peas ripped off elements of a dance version of his 1999 song “Take a Dive.”
Pringle, however, did not file a copyright registration with the U.S. Copyright Office until after he had filed suit, according to court records.
Pringle’s claim faltered when a federal judge ruled in favor of the Peas, finding that the MP3 version of the song he’d submitted for registration was not the original version of his 1990s track. Furthermore, the songs were not similar enough for him to prevail, the court found.
After the 9th Circuit affirmed the court’s order, Black Eyed Peas singer-songwriter will.i.am aka William Adams Jr., “I Got a Feeling” producer French DJ David Guetta, and record companies Interscope and UMG asked for attorney’s fees.
On July 23, U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton awarded $776,362.75 to Adams, $1,343,772.12 to Guetta, and $50,151.19 to UMG Recordings and Interscope Records. Adams also awarded Adams $351,068 in costs.
But Peas frontwoman Fergie aka Stacy Ann Ferguson and her company Headphone Junkie Publishing failed to persuade the judge to grant $29,232.50 to her lawyers at McPherson Rane.
The judge found that in addition to McPherson, another law firm, Bryan Cave, had helped the singer during proceedings.
“In light of Bryan Cave’s more general representation of Ms. Ferguson and Headphone Junkie, the court finds the fees incurred by McPherson Rane were not reasonably necessary,” the order states. “Moreover, McPherson Rane block-billed time for both this case and another case within the same time entries, making it virtually impossible to estimate the amount of time spent on the specific tasks it worked on in this case.”
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