Beastie Boys Fight For Their Right To Sample

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New York hip-hop legends and recent inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the Beastie Boys are fighting back against a lawsuit that claims the band illegally sampled music on two of their albums, 1986 debut Licensed to Ill and 1989 follow-up, Paul’s Boutique.

The suit, filed by record label TufAmerica, alleges that the Beastie Boys sampled the songs “Say What” and “Drop the Bomb” by ‘80s “go-go” group, Trouble Funk, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The complaint was submitted on May 3, 2012, just one day before founding member Adam “MCA” Yauch succumbed to salivary gland cancer.

But it’s the suit itself that might be TufAmerica’s downfall, as the label is suing on the basis that the samples were discovered only “after conducting a careful audio analysis,” since they were “effectively concealed” to the “casual listener.”

As such, lawyers for the Beastie Boys are asking the judge to throw out the case, given that “Plaintiff admits that the casual observer cannot identify Plaintiff’s musical compositions and sound recordings… there can be no substantial similarity.”

In simpler terms, if the Trouble Funk samples can’t be easily detected when listening to the Beastie Boys songs that sample them, any claims of “substantial similarity” are moot. The band’s lawyers also question why it took TufAmerica more than 20 years to file the suit.

Surviving Beastie Boy Mike “D” Diamond spent this past Thanksgiving with his two sons serving food to people in New York’s Rockaways affected by Hurricane Sandy with his two young sons.

“We want to be part of the recovery and relieve some of the suffering,” Diamond told the New York Daily News.

–Scott T. Sterling, CBS Local

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