(CN) - The rap group Wu Tang Clan illegally sampled the 1971 tune "I've Changed" by the Magictones in the song "New Wu," a record company claims in court.
Bridgeport Music and Westbound Records claim they own the copyrights to the composition and sound recording of "I've Changed" and allege that the rap group sampled a four-measure pattern from the song, sped it up and created an eight-measure loop that makes up nearly the entire song "New Wu."
"The portion of 'I've Changed' that has been incorporated into 'New Wu' is both qualitatively and quantitatively important to 'I've Changed' and 'New Wu,'" the complaint states.
Released in 2009, the song appears on Wu Tang Clan member Raekwon's album "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Part II."
Bridgeport and Westbound claim the rappers continue to wrongfully exploit the song "to this very day as the Infringing Works continue to be sold, distributed and licensed on compact discs and albums, and as digital downloads, ringtones and master tones, all without payment to Plaintiffs," the complaint states.
"Defendants have also derived significant financial benefit and commercial advantage by unlawfully using Westbound's 'I've Changed" sound recording. As an example, the infringing work on "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Pt. II" debuted at number four on the Billboard's Top 200 chart, number two on the R&B Albums chart, and number two on the Top Rap Album chart," the complaint states. "It sold nearly 68,000 copies in its first week and according to a number of websites, received favorable reviews from most music critics, noting 'New Wu' as one of the best tracks on the album."
Defendants include Corry Woods pka Raekwon, Dennis Coles pka Ghostface Killah, Clifford Smith pka Method Man, Robert Diggs pka RZA, IceH20 Records, Pinky Phat Phat Production Inc., Prince Jaibari Music Inc., Ramecca Publishing Inc., EMI Music North America and Universal Music-MGB NA dba Universal Music Careers.
Bridgeport and Westbound are represented by Richard Busch of King & Ballow in Nashville and James Thayer of Gordon, Gordon & Schnapp in New York.