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2nd Circuit: Lawsuit against 50-Cent Timebarred

The case is about the licensing of a hip-hop beat that was utilized by Defendant Curtis Jackson, also known as "50 Cent." Defendant Curtis Jackson, allegedly, used the Plaintiff's beat in his 2007 single "I get Money." The Plaintiff sued and the District Court (E.D.N.Y.) dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds of untimeliness. The Copyright Act provides for a three-year statute of limitation. The Plaintiff waited beyond that time period to file suit and the District Court said the Plaintiff's suit was time-barred.

The Court cites the Kwan case to explain the precedent and applies the precedent here, effectively timebarring the Plaintiff's claim:

As in Kwan, more than three years prior to Simmons’s filing of his suit, Stanberry had made clear to him that he rejected Simmons’s assertion of an interest in the copyright and had gone on to exploit the copyrighted work in a manner of which Simmons was on notice. Simmons’s assertion of his claim of a copyright interest was therefore time barred. As in Kwan, furthermore, he could not revive the time-barred claim of ownership of a copyright interest by relying on the defendants’ continued exploitation of the copyright within three years of his filing suit.

Pp. 4 (external quotation marks omitted).

The Court rejects the Plaintiff's position that the claim should accrue at a later time. The law here is clear and there is not much to dispute. Because the Plaintiff's claim is timebarred, the Second Circuit affirms the District Court. One should note, although time barred, it sure does make for an interesting story about the rap artist known as "50-Cent."

The case is Summons v. Stanberry, 14-3106-cv (2d Cir. Jan. 15, 2016).


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