Music Article

'Stroke' of Bad Luck

Dr. Dre must pay $1.5 million in sample suit. He allegedly appropriated the 1980 Fatback hit ''Backstrokin''' for 2001's ''Let's Get High''

Dr. Dre | MALPRACTICE SUIT Dr. Dre loses sampling case
Image credit: Dr. Dre: Lionel Hahn/ABACA Press/NewsCom
MALPRACTICE SUIT Dr. Dre loses sampling case

For Dr. Dre, it's nuthin' but a G thang -- about 1,500 Gs, to be precise. A Los Angeles jury ordered the rapper/producer to pay $1.5 million in a copyright infringement lawsuit on Tuesday, MTV News reports. At issue was a bass riff in Dre's 2001 track ''Let's Get High,'' which plaintiff Minder Music argued was an unauthorized swipe from the Fatback Band's 1980 hit ''Backstrokin'.''

Minder Music, a London-based publisher that holds the copyright to the band's compositions, says that Fatback tracks have been sampled more than 80 times by such artists as Fatboy Slim, Monica, and Everlast. The firm sought $3.5 million in damages, while Dre's side argued that he consulted with a musicologist before hiring a bassist to play the riff, which the expert told him was commonplace.

The jury seemed to agree, calling Dre's actions innocent infringement, but fined him anyway. However, the judge has yet to sign the ruling, and Dre's lawyer, Howard King, told MTV he believed the judgment would be thrown out due to inconsistencies within the jury's findings. Meanwhile, Dre is finishing what he says will be his final album, ''Detox,'' which he hopes to release this summer, and he's also producing records for Eve and his old N.W.A. bandmate, Ice Cube.

Originally posted May 08, 2003
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