Travis Scott lawyers file to dismiss uncleared sample lawsuit

The team argue that the phrase “alright, alright, alright” lacks the “minimal creativity required for copyright protection”.

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Travis Scott performs onstage

Image: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Travis Scott’s lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the rapper of using unlicensed samples on the songs Stargazing and Til Further Notice, arguing that the phrase “Alright, Alright, Alright” is “too short” to warrant protection.

The lawsuit, filed by Dion Norman and Derrick Ordogne earlier this year, accused Scott of sampling the 1992 DJ Jimi track Bitches Reply without permission. The song’s intro has been sampled frequently over the years, by artists including Beyonce, Lil Wayne, Cardi B, Kid Cudi and more.

Norman and Ordogne said in the suit that they “did not authorise” the sample’s use on either of Scott’s songs. They also claimed that the rapper had “admitted to the unauthorised use of Bitches Reply” when he had a “sample clearance vendor” contact them about clearing the sample for use in his Utopia album (where the track Till Further Notice appears).

In response, Scott’s lawyers have called the allegations “untenable”, arguing that the allegedly infringed-upon phrase “Alright, Alright, Alright” is “too commonplace to be copyrightable”.

“The only alleged copyright infringement here is the alleged copying of the word ‘alright’,” they wrote [via Billboard]. “But the single word ‘alright’ and the short phrase ‘alright, alright, alright’ lack even the minimal creativity required for copyright protection both because these lyrics are too short and because they are commonplace, or stock, expressions.”

The musician’s team also argued that copyright protection only applies to “original” works, which they don’t consider the sampled phrase to be.

Per Billboard, Scott’s lawyers stated that the “repetition of the word ‘alright’ is simply too ‘common,’ ‘everyday,’ ‘trite’ and ‘cliched’” to meet copyright law’s basic requirements. They also referenced a 2003 ruling where T-Pain’s Put It Down was cleared of copyright claims for using phrases like “I can’t get enough” and “raise your hands in the air”.

In their motion to dismiss, Scott’s lawyers also pointed out that the statute of limitations for making a copyright claim for Stargazing has expired.


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