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Since 1999, fans of “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn” have heard “Me So Horny,” the song by South Florida’s once controversial rap group 2 Live Crew more than 500 times. Now, two Miami companies that own the rights to the song claim that the show, which airs weeknights on CBS, has broadcast it for two years without approval. The companies have sued to stop the music. Lil’ Joe Records Inc. and Lil’ Joe Wein Music Inc., which together own 17 recording and composition copyrights for 2 Live Crew’s songs including “Me So Horny,” filed their complaint last month in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale against the show’s producer, Worldwide Pants Inc. of New York. Miami lawyer Joseph Weinberger, who once represented Luther Campbell, the rap star who co-authored “Me So Horny” with 2 Live Crew members, acquired the rights to the song through a 1995 involuntary bankruptcy proceeding against Campbell. Campbell is not a party to the lawsuit, which accuses Worldwide Pants of using “Me So Horny” without permission in various formats during more than 200 broadcasts. Kevin J. O’Grady, a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office of Ruden McClosky Smith Schuster & Russell, said it is unclear when his clients discovered the alleged infringement. O’Grady describes the use of the song as a “straightforward case” of copyright infringement. Unlike cases involving the sampling of lyrics or the lifting of guitar licks, “this is simply a case where they used the song on the TV show” without authorization, says O’Grady. According to the complaint, Lil’ Joe is seeking unspecified damages for copyright infringement. The complaint also seeks an injunction that would prevent Worldwide Pants from using “Me So Horny” without authorization. O’Grady said he expects a written answer to the complaint from Worldwide Pants in the first week of June, followed by a preliminary conference with attorneys for Worldwide Pants. Ronald L. Kammer, local counsel for Worldwide Pants and a partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson in Miami, did not return a phone call seeking comment before deadline. “Me So Horny” helped ignite the legal firestorm surrounding the 1989 album “As Nasty As They Wanna Be,” performed by rappers 2 Live Crew and Campbell, who was the group’s leader. “Nasty” contained sexually explicit lyrics that irked many critics, including then-Broward County, Fla., Sheriff Nick Navarro, who threatened retailers with prosecution if they carried the album, making “Nasty” virtually unavailable in Broward County. In 1990, “Nasty” became the first album banned in the United States by a federal judge when Jose A. Gonzalez Jr. ruled that the album met the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court test for obscenity. But two years later, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta overturned Gonzalez’s decision and ruled the album was not obscene. That test requires a showing that, by contemporary standards, the material in question describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, appeals to the prurient interest and lacks serious artistic, literary or political value.

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