2 Live Crew’s catalogue was purchased by Lil Joe Records in 1995.
In November of 2020, members of 2 Live Crew informed Lil Joe Records that they planned to take back control of their music by invoking the termination prevision. Unfortunately for the hip hop legends, Lil Joe is hitting them back.
According to Billboard, the small record label filed a complaint on Thursday, requesting that a federal court in Florida rule that 2 Live Crew be prevented from using the termination right, which would allow the group to regain ownership of their works, even decades after selling them.
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The lawsuit explains that Lil Joe Records purchased the Crew’s catalogue when their previous label, Luke Records Inc., filed for bankruptcy in 1995. This means that LJR owns 2 Live’s publishing rights, masters, and the trademarks to their name.
The surviving members of the “You Go Girl” group, Luther Campbell and Mark Ross were the ones to file the initial 2020 notice, along with the heirs of the late Christopher Wong Won, who passed away back in 2017.
Billboard reports that Lil Joe’s lawsuit claims that 2 Live Crew “failed to file proper notices,” and points out that “aspects of bankruptcy law trump the termination right.” The label also argues that the group’s music created as a “work for hire” on their record label’s behalf, so they never really owned the rights to their work to begin with.
The article also mentions that artists like Cher and KC and The Sunshine Band are currently enduring similar struggles when trying to regain control of their music, and may be faced with arguments that are similar to the one Lil Joe has posed 2 Live Crew.
How do you think the lawsuit will end? Will the group get their music back, or will it remain with LJR?