Usher, Mark Wahlberg, Run-D.M.C. and More Slapped With Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Usher, Mark Wahlberg, Run-D.M.C. and More Slapped With Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

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Complaint claims that song “Different Strokes” was improperly sampled by dozens of artists

Usher, Mark Wahlberg and Run-D.M.C. are among a slew of musicians who are being sued in a sprawling lawsuit claiming that dozens of artists infringed on a song by sampling it without authorization.

In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Illinois on Tuesday, Twilight Records and Syl-Zel Music claim that the above defendants and others sampled “Different Strokes,” which was sung and recorded by Sylvester Thompson, a/k/a Syl Johnson, in 1967, and later in a derivative version.

Also read: Kanye West and Jay-Z Sued for Alleged Improper Sampling on ‘Watch the Throne’

According to the suit, Usher infringed on “Different Strokes” with his 1993 song “Call Me a Mack,” while Public Enemy made use of the tune on multiple songs, including “Fight the Power” and “Fear of a Black Planet.”

Wahlberg, meanwhile, is allegedly in hot water for his tenure in the much-missed Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, whose “The Last Song on Side B” made unauthorized use of the song, according to the suit. (Yes, his brother Donnie is also named as a defendant.)

Also read: Justin Bieber, Usher Slapped With $10 Million Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Run-D.M.C., meanwhile, allegedly sinned by using “Different Strokes” in their tunes “Naughty” and “Beats to the Rhyme.”

A number of record labels, including Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, are also named in the suit for contributory copyright infringement.

Also read: Admits Copyright Infringement on Track Featuring Chris Brown

The complaint seeks accounting, along with a permanent restraint against sampling the song, along with unspecified damages.

This isn't the first time that “Different Strokes” has sparked a lawsuit. In 2011, Johnson sued Kanye West and Jay-Z, claiming that the song was improperly sampled on that pair's album “Watch the Throne.” That suit was later settled.

Listen to “Different Strokes” below:

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

  • Bellicose

    And not a $hit was given anywhere on the planet.

  • Darcy Fowler

    I dont know why this is shocking.This is happening alot with songs from back in the 60's.I dont know if back in the 60's if there was such things as copyrights as they are known today but i do not think any of these artists are trying to steal the music ,i think it is more they are trying to keep that music alive.Its just people wanting money because they didnt make as much as these artists make nowadays Marvin Gaye's family is suing people also.

    • Ida Malone Jackson

      Don't you think that if you're going to intentionally use somebody else's music to make money, that you should 1) get their permission and 2) pay them for using it?

      • hiphophead

        yes but alot of the times the sample owner wont clear it and clearing samples can cost more than its worth

  • Ric hackel

    I made a comment on this when it was on yahoo, there was some question to the veracity of my statement. Maybe I should have added a copy of my bandmates and my “copyright ” Legal facts

  • Nicki Hope

    Really? Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch hasn't been around in over 20 years now they wanna sue Mark Wahlberg for just remaking the beat? WOW!!! A lil late on that HUH?