Future Wins Copyright Lawsuit, Judge Cites The Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan And Kanye West In Ruling

Future was embroiled in a copyright lawsuit that accused him of ripping off the song of a Virginia rapper who claimed he sent a track to the rapper’s producers. The judge ruled in favor of Future and utilized the example of songs by The Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan, and the artist formerly known as Kanye West, Ye.

According to Billboard, a lawsuit was brought against Nayvadius Wilburn, known as Future, alleging that the rapper stole the concept and even the title from a song that DaQuan Robinson recorded. Robinson states that Future’s song, “When I Think About It,” released in 2021, was a copy of the track he released in 2018, “When U Think About It.”

Judge Martha Pacold threw the suit out last week, saying Robinson was attempting to sue over basic lyrics ubiquitous in the hip-hop world.

“The thematic elements that [the accusers] address—guns, money, and jewelry—are frequently present in hip-hop and rap music,” the judge wrote in her decision. “The commonality of these themes in hip-hop and rap place [them] outside the protections of copyright law.”

In her ruling, Pacold also stated that even if Future had copied the song Robinson recorded, it was not covered by copyrights in the first place: “None of the elements Robinson has identified in ‘When U Think About It’ is protectable.”

Regarding the topics Future and Robinson talked about in their respective songs, Pacold stated that the themes talked about, guns, money, and jewelry, are common throughout the hip-hop genre. She cited lyrics that were said in several songs. She brought up The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Machine Gun Funk,” Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me),” and Kanye West’s “Diamonds From Sierra Leone.”

“Where elements of a work are indispensable, or at least standard, in the treatment of a given topic, they receive no protection,” the judge wrote.

About the song’s title, she ruled that any one lyricist could not monopolize such a short, simple phrase.

“It is a fragmentary expression that is commonplace in everyday speech and ubiquitous in popular music,” Pacold wrote.

Complex reported that Robinson, who used the stage name of Gutta, claimed he sent the track over to rapper Doe Boy and producer Zaytoven, who were connected with Future’s label. Yet, Robinson didn’t name them in the lawsuit.

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