Today In Copyright Lawsuits: TeeFlii and 2 Chainz Face $10 Million In Damages for Willful Copyright Infringement

Seeking $10 Million in Damages, Composers Sue TeeFlii and 2 Chainz for Copyright Infringement
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Seeking $10 Million in Damages, Composers Sue TeeFlii and 2 Chainz for Copyright Infringement
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Rapper 2 Chainz.

Did TeeFlii and 2 Chainz copy a 1993 minor hit to create ’24 Hours’?

According to a new lawsuit, rappers TeeFlii and 2 Chainz, along with producers DJ Mustard and DJ Ketchup, blatantly ripped off a song from 1993.

Composers Allen George and Sten Hallström – best known by his stage name, StoneBridge – claim that the artists stole Robin S.’s ‘Back It Up.’  Hitting TeeFlii and his collaborators with a copyright infringement lawsuit, George and Hallström claim the rappers used the 1993 work in TeeFlii and 2 Chainz’s 2014 hit single, ’24 Hours.’

The song, write both composers, used the 1993 track’s “dominant theme.”  The rappers, they claim, merely made “minor modifications and a tempo change.”

In addition, ’24 Hours’ is an “obvious, knowing, [and] willful infringement.”

Defendants’ access to Plaintiffs’ work is beyond challenge, as Robin S. is a well-known American house music singer and songwriter.

[They] either copied, or reproduced, the dominant theme from ‘Back It Up,’ and co-opted it as the main theme for ’24 Hours,’ with minor modifications and a tempo change.

A quick side-by-side listen backs their claims.  Indeed, the main melody in ’24 hours’ is merely a slower-tempo version of the melody in ‘Back It Up’.

Furthering their argument, the composers cite the 1993 track’s success.  Robin S.’s album, Show Me Love, where ‘Back It Up’ appeared, stayed on the Billboard 200 for 110 total weeks.  The title track reached the top of the Hot Dance Music/Club Play and Hot Dance Single Sales charts.  In addition, ‘Show Me Love’ hit No. 5 on the Hot 100.

Over in the UK, ‘Back It Up’ found moderate success.  The song peaked at No. 43.  Yet, ’24 Hours’ proved a success for both rappers in 2014.  On YouTube, the track currently has over 25 million views, a modest success when compared to recent mega-hits, including ‘Despacito.’  On Spotify, the composers note that ’24 Hours’ has over 27 million streams.

TeeFlii’s hit peaked at No. 85 on the Billboard Hot 100.  On Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, ’24 Hours’ reached No. 21.

George and Hallström have also named Sony Music as a defendant.  They’ve sought in excess of $10 million for the willful infringement.


Featured image by The Come Up Show (CC by 2.0).