*NEW YORK: A major copyright infringement lawsuit was filed today in federal court against producer Darhyl “DJ” Camper, the artist H.E.R. (Gabrielle Wilson) and songwriter Justin Love for the hit song “Focus.”
Well known songwriter and piano maestro Andre Sims (@andresimspiano) sued the trio after Camper went on social media and admitted he saw Sims playing his own song “Endless Minds” on YouTube and took it for “Focus” song. (Here is the clip where Camper admits to taking the music)
Sims said he tried to notify Camper and the other writers, however, no one would cooperate in sharing any info on the song or the copyright associated with the song or the estimated $3 million the song has made and still makes.
There is no dispute the “Focus” song uses “Endless Minds” by Sims. (See https://vimeo.com/414639755/b8307b6794)
“I am so disappointed that they not only stole my song,” said Sims, known worldwide as a music savant. “But, they act as if DJ Camper did not admit he took my music and used it for the “Focus” song.”
Sims added, “I had hoped to avoid court, but after months of trying to get them to do the right thing, they left me with no other alternative.”
Mr. Sims sued for copyright infringement, injunctive relief, an accounting of all monies made and requests that the court require the defendants to create a constructive trust to hold royalties.
“We have asked the songwriters, their managers, lawyers and Sony to turn over all income associated with the song for several months now and they have refused to cooperate in any meaningful way,” said Attorney James L. Walker, Jr., based in Atlanta, GA (@jameswalkeresq). Walker is representing Sims, along with Attorneys Enrique Ramos and Stephen Katz of The Katz Law Firm of Marietta, GA.
We are hopeful that all three will do the right thing and pay Mr. Sims what they owe him, if not, we will see them in court,” added Katz, “This is real simple: you stole the man’s music, return it and pay him.”
“It is very disappointing that the parties could not resolve this matter,” Walker explained. “It is clear that Mr. Camper has admitted that our client’s song was stolen and was used note-for-note for the “Focus” song.”
Katz explained that the musical bed of the two songs are identical and “we should not have to sue for the three writers to do the right thing and pay Mr. Sims and return the song to him as he owns both songs.”
The song “Focus” was recorded by artist H.E.R. aka Gabriella Wilson and released on Sony. The song became H.E.R.’s first number one song when it topped the Adult R&B Songs charts in October 2018. The song also was nominated for the Soul Train Music Award for The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter’s Award at the 2018 Soul Train Music Awards and for the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards. Wilson has won countless awards with the song and the song has been downloaded nearly 200 million times and is still very popular.
Additionally, Attorney Joel A. Katz of Greenberg Traurig, LLP is a special adviser to Walker on the case.
“We are hopeful that all three will do the right thing and pay Mr. Sims what they owe him, if not, we will see them in court,” added Walker.
Faizon Love Hits Universal with Discrimination Lawsuit Over ‘Couples Retreat’ Poster [VIDEO]
*Faizon Love has filed a race discrimination lawsuit against Universal Studios for removing him from the international poster for the 2009 comedy “Couples Retreat.”
“This film was a big money-maker for Universal, but instead of honoring my work and my contract, the studio chose to render me invisible to billions of moviegoers,” Love said in a statement, Variety reports.
Love claims he only recently realized that he and co-star Kali Hawk are not on the international poster, and their names aren’t even mentioned.
“Rather than enjoy maximum visibility with the film’s release, Mr. Love was demoted to the proverbial ‘Invisible Man,’” the lawsuit said, referring to Ralph Ellison’s civil rights novel.
“Although Couples Retreat achieved a first-place box office opening weekend ranking, and went on a spectacular run that grossed more than $171 million worldwide, Universal Studios placed Mr. Love in the back seat of the ride enjoyed by his six White costars,” it said.
Universal allegedly apologized when first called out over the edited poster, and Love says he was promised future “lucrative, career-making film roles”… but that never hapened.
The lawsuit claims the movie’s lead actor Vince Vaughn “went so far as to tell Mr. Love that making a big deal about his removal from the poster would not be good for his career.”
Love is taking legal action of behalf of all Black artists who have been mistreated in the industry.
“They have not only hurt me financially, they have hurt me in a deeper way by dismissing me because of my Blackness — and they have hurt all Black performers by continuing to perpetuate racism in the movie industry,” Love said. “I want to ensure that future generations don’t have to endure the racism and whitewashing that I have experienced.”
The suit accuses Universal of fraud, breach of contract, and violating California’s fair employment act and civil rights law.
Scroll up and hear Faizon talk about the lawsuit via the YouTube clip above.
27 More Black Ex-Franchisees Join Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against McDonald’s
*MIAMI – Twenty-seven new plaintiffs, all former Black McDonald’s franchisees, joined an ongoing federal lawsuit against the fast-food chain claiming the company engaged in systemic discrimination and denied them the same opportunities as White franchisees.
The new amended complaint now has 77 named plaintiffs in the lawsuit originally filed by 52 Black former franchisees on Sept. 1, 2020.
The claims now include nearly 300 stores with compensatory damages that average between
$4 million and $5 million per store, exclusive of punitive damages.
The plaintiffs allege McDonald’s sold itself as a recruiter and developer of Black talent, profited from its Black consumer base and maintained a two-tier system that pigeonholed unsuspecting Black owners and assigned them horrible locations guaranteed to fail.
This suit comes on the heels of a federal class action lawsuit filed October 29 by current Black franchisees.
“McDonald’s is now fighting a four-front legal war. They are being sued by current and former Black operators, Black employees and senior executives,” said James L. Ferraro, the lead attorney for both the current and former franchisee lawsuits. “As the pool of plaintiffs grow, there will be more pressure on the company to dispense with the public relations ploys and focus on how it can help its Black employees and franchisees.”
At the same time there are calls for state pension funds to drop McDonald’s stock. States like New York, California, Ohio and Florida have massive investments in McDonald’s. In Tennessee, Rep. Joe Towns has requested Treasurer David H. Lillard to divest the state’s holdings and reallocate the money toward companies “practicing good corporate citizenship.”
Ferraro said all these challenges are coming together because the company has turned a blind eye to obvious racial problems while promoting its public image.
McDonald’s once boasted a high of 377 Black franchisees in 1998. That number now stands at 186 even though McDonald’s has increased its stores from 15,086 to 36,059. The cash flow gap for Black franchisees more than tripled from 2010 to 2019, per National Black McDonald’s
Operators Association (“NBMOA”) data.
Plaintiffs’ average annual sales of $2 million was more than $700,000 under McDonald’s national average of $2.7 million between 2011 and 2016 and $900,000 under the national average of $2.9 million in 2019.
The lawsuit claims McDonald’s was ruthless in steering Black operators toward the oldest, most decrepit stores in the toughest neighborhoods routinely rejected by Whites franchisees. This severely limited opportunities for expansion and growth, and far too often set in place a chain of events – low cash flow, decreased equity, debt and bankruptcy – that led to financial ruin.
The plaintiffs argue McDonald’s violated federal civil rights laws by:
- Excluding Black franchisees from the same growth opportunities found at safer, higher- volume, lower-cost stores offered to Whites.
- Retaliating against Black franchisees for rejecting strong-arm offers to continue operations in crime-ridden
- Denying Black franchisees meaningful assistance during financial hardships while White franchisees were routinely given such
- Failing to provide any legitimate business reasons for repeated denials of franchise opportunities over many
- Unfairly grading the operations of Black restaurants, which resulted in poor internal reviews, effectively pushing Black franchisees out of the McDonald’s system by denying them the eligibility for growth and favorable franchise
- Providing misleading projections which induced Black franchisees to purchase undesirable franchises.
The amended complaint was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division. To download the complaint, click here.
Wiz Khalifa and Michael Strahan Hit with Lawsuit Over Khalifa Kush Cannabis Brand
*Rapper Wiz Khalifa and Michael Strahan have been hit with a lawsuit by one of the business partners of their cannabis brand Khalifa Kush.
According to court documents provided by The Blast, the director and managing agent for Cuzzi Consulting, Inc., Carlos Arias, claims that Wiz and Strahan “pilfered more than $100,000,000 in assets from Nominal Defendants.”
Arias’ lawsuit also claims a “breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting fiduciary breaches, conversion, corporate waste, tortious breach of an express or implied agreement, unjust enrichment, money had and received, professional negligence, civil conspiracy, and declaratory judgment arising out of Defendants’ wrongful conduct concerning the usurpation and misappropriation of assets from Nominal Defendants KKE USA and the Khalifa Kush Joint Venture.”
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Arias’ lawsuit accuses Wiz of concocting the scheme with help from “his entourage who conspired with the illicit assistance of outside counsel Pryor Cashman” in order to “funnel the proceeds from to themselves and certain third party beneficiaries.”
The suit also alleges that Wiz and Strahan engaged in “wrongful conduct concerning the usurpation and misappropriation of assets” regarding Khalifa Kush.
The lawsuit comes after Wiz launched his delivery-only restaurant, HotBox By Wiz, a partnership with Nextbite. The company serves comfort food to customers in Los Angeles, San Diego, and other cities, through Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, and Grubhub.
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