Music producer Ice Starr files lawsuit in SDNY for copyright infringement, naming Yung Bleu, Taquari Hatch, Bad Azz Music Syndicate, Columbia Records, Empire Music, and numerous others as defendants
Jun 10, 2021 2:47 PM ET
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Acclaimed Icelandic music producer and beats maestro, Arni Larusson p/k/a Ice Starr, filed legal action this week against several of music's top artists and music labels. The complaint filed by Werge Law Group on behalf of Mr. Larusson in the Southern District of New York, cites multiple copyright infringements and piracy claims of original compositions protected under the U.S Copyright Act. At the core of the complaint is Jeremy Biddle's a/k/a Yung Bleu breakout album "Investments 5", the "Bleu Money" EP release, and also includes mega hits "Miss It" and "Ice On My Baby". The "Investments 5" album consists of unauthorized use of six original compositions by Mr. Larusson. The infringing works listed in the filing all retain Mr. Larusson's specific watermark under his Ice Starr brand. The watermark is repeated throughout all the cited tracks, further supporting Mr. Larusson's claims. The filing goes on to list over ten infringing works distributed by the defendants with no authorization. According to industry practice and legal standards, had Mr. Larusson's work been properly licensed, these watermarks would have been removed from the underlying sound recordings and compositions upon the execution of a standard production agreement and prior to distribution.
"It is our understanding that the infringing tracks were most likely ripped by Yung Bleu's team from YouTube using a .mp3 converter, and Yung Bleu simply rapped over Mr. Larusson's sound recordings and compositions." - Tom Werge, Werge Law Group
Since news of this filing broke, Yung Bleu himself reached out to Ice Starr and Yung Bleu spoke directly with Gregory Hirschhorn, the CEO of Too Lost, Ice Starr's publishing and management company, and acknowledged he had been made aware of the pending litigation. Florida News Times reported late Thursday evening that Yung Bleu is denying any copyright infringement, stating that Taquari Hatch/a/k/a RSRVE bought all the rights from Mr. Larusson for $1,500.
"This is a gross misrepresentation of the facts considering there is no publishing agreement in place for any of Mr. Larusson's infringed works." – Gregory Hirschhorn, Too Lost
To put this in context, in October 2020, Yung Bleu hit 1 Billion streams – a large percentage of which were derivative works of Mr. Larusson's sound recordings and underlying compositions. According to the lawsuit, Yung Bleu and his team have since earned millions of dollars benefiting from the original work of Mr. Larusson, for which he was never compensated.
"This lawsuit is an unfortunate but inevitable result of the current ecosystem of the industry, where consequences for this type of infringement are rarely enforced outside of the legal system. For me, this not personal against any of my industry peers, this is about respect for my livelihood and the value of my brand." – Arni Larusson p/k/a Ice Starr.
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