Timbaland Wins Bollywood Lawsuit For "Put You On The Game" Sample
Due to an unorthodox Indian copyright law, Timbaland and Game win a lawsuit for allegedly sampling a Bollywood movie without permission.
On Tuesday, The Honorable Judge Jane A. Restani, from Florida’s Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a previous ruling from a lower court in favor of Timbaland. The case was initiated when Saregama India Ltd. filed a suit against Timbaland, Game, Aftermath and Interscope Records alleging Timbaland sampled the 1967 Bollywood song “Baghor Mein Bahar Hai” without permission.
Tim and Game repeatedly looped three notes found in the aforementioned song for the melody of Game’s 2005 single “Put You On The Game.” The case was ultimately decided an unconventional loophole in Indian copyright law.
“Even if BMBH were covered by the agreement (a question we need not decide), Saregama would not currently own a copyright in the BMBH sound recording and thus lacks statutory standing to bring this copyright infringement action. We, therefore, affirm the district court’s order granting summary judgment for the Defendants,” Judge Restani wrote in a precedential ruling.
Essentially, it was irrelevant if Timbaland had permission to use the sample. Bollywood films may have up to two additional copyright holders besides the original publisher, whereas most licensed works do not. Saregama didn't have standing to bring the lawsuit, and the case may be pending further appeal by the plaintiff.