Los Angeles. In an unfortunately timed bit of courtroom maneuvering, the Beastie Boys were sued Thursday – a day before the death of founding member Adam Yauch at the age of 47 – over alleged illegal samples on their first two albums “License to Ill” and “Paul’s Boutique.”
The suit, filed by TufAmerica, Inc. in US District Court in New York, alleges that multiple songs on the albums incorporate samples from the Trouble Funk songs “Say What” and “Drop the Bomb.”
According to the complaint, the “Paul’s Boutique” track “Shadrach” uses a snippet from “Say What,” while “Car Thief” from the same album incorporates a sample from “Drop the Bomb.”
Moreover, the suit claims, the “Licensed to Ill” tracks “Hold It Now Hit It” and “The New Style” use separate samples from “Drop the Bomb,”
“License to Ill” was released in 1986, while “Paul’s Boutique” was released in 1989. According to the lawsuit, “Say What” was released in 1982, and “Drop the Bomb” hit in 1985.
A publicist for the Beastie Boys has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
TufAmerica – which owns the record label Tuff City Music Group – claims in the suit that it has not received any royalties or payments of any kind for the alleged use of the samples.
Universal Music Publishing, Brooklyn Dust Music and Capitol Records are also named in the suit.
Claiming copyright infringement, unjust enrichment and misappropriation, TufAmerica is seeking unspecified damages, including punitive and exemplary damages, plus an accounting to determine restitution, court costs, attorneys’ fees, and an injunction preventing the defendants from infringing on the copyrighted material.