In June, we reported that Travis Scott was facing a copyright infringement lawsuit for allegedly lifting the guitar riff featured in “Highest in the Room” from Instagram. Now, T.I. and his Grand Hustle Records company have been pulled into the courtroom confrontation.
To recap, the plaintiffs – including original filer Benjamin Lasnier, a Danish producer – allege that an associate of Travis Scott reached out to discuss the idea of Scott’s utilizing a guitar riff that Lasnier uploaded to his Instagram story. Despite never closing a usage deal with this individual, per the original complaint, the 21-year-old Lasnier eventually recognized a slightly altered version of his riff in “Highest in the Room,” which was released as a single on October 4th, 2019.
The plaintiffs subsequently named Grand Hustle Records, a T.I.-owned record label with a roster including Trae tha Truth, Travis Scott, and additional prominent artists, as a defendant. Plus, Big Three record label Sony Music Entertainment is now a defendant in the case – besides Grand Hustle, Scott is signed to SME imprint Epic Records – as is Scott’s own label, Houston-headquartered Cactus Jack Records.
Earlier this morning, Digital Music News obtained an exclusive copy of the legal filing revealing that T.I. had entered the “Highest in the Room” infringement-suit fray. Within the concise document (which T.I. “voluntarily” filled out and submitted to a California federal court), the “Whatever You Like” singer specified that his label “has no ownership in, nor has it ever received any financial benefit or participation from” the Travis Scott track at the case’s center.
T.I. also indicated that Grand Hustle – and presumably he, as “the sole member” of the label’s staff – wasn’t even aware of the track’s existence until after August 21st, 2019, just 14 days before its release. Lastly, T.I. signaled that “if called as a witness,” he “could and would testify” about the information in his to-the-point statement, which he signed with his full name, Clifford J. Harris, Jr.
At the time of this writing. T.I. hadn’t taken to social media to comment on his declaration. Last month, Harris Jr. made headlines for engaging in a very public feud with 50 Cent, who seemed to accuse T.I. of becoming an informant to reduce the sentence stemming from his October 2007 arrest. T.I. eventually pled guilty to the corresponding firearm-possession felonies, and he served about a year in jail and a year of house arrest, as well as completing 1,500 hours of community service.