Judge Upholds $4 Million Dollar Verdict Over "Ready to Die"
In March of 2006, Bridgeport and Westbound won a $4 million dollar judgment in punitive damages when a jury found Bad Boy Entertainment, Justin Combs Publishing, Universal Records and Sean "Diddy" Combs guilty of illegally sampling "Singing In The Morning" by The Ohio Players.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected Combs' appeal on Wednesday (October 17), after ruling that Combs released and re-released Ready to Die with knowledge that the sample had not been cleared.
"Ready to Die" was produced by Sean "Diddy" Combs and Osten Harvey Jr. and is the titled track to B.I.G.'s 1994 classic album Ready to Die.
"Singing in the Rain" was originally released in 1971 by Westbound Records, which is now owned by publishing company Bridgeport Music.
According to the lawsuit, the single originally contained a sample of Jimi Hendrix's "Power of Love," but that sample was denied clearance.
Harvey, who was labeled a "rogue producer" in the lawsuit, then substituted a portion of The Ohio Players' "Singing in the Morning" and Bad Boy released Ready to Die, with knowledge that the sample for the single had not been cleared.
The ruling put an end to sales and radio airplay of Ready to Die until the lawsuit is fully settled.
The judge decided that Bridgeport was entitled to 25% of the new copyright in the song and the two parties are expected to negotiated an agreement to re-release Ready to Die.