Mary J. Blige Cleared In Copyright Lawsuit

Hip-Hop soul pioneer Mary J. Blige was recently cleared of copyright infringement accusations stemming from her 2001 hit “Family Affair.” The suit was filed in January by Leonard Jones and James White.

White, who previously managed a rapper named Benevolence, claims to have submitted the artist’s copyright-protected demo to Universal Records in May 2001.

Blige completed “Family Affair” in August 2001, and according to the lawsuit the single bore a striking lyrical resemblance to Benevolence’s demo track “Party Ain’t Crunk.”

The plaintiff’s argued that since producer Dr. Dre normally utilizes a team of musicians, the copyright infringement could be traced to Blige’s team of writers.

Dr. Dre was originally named in the lawsuit, but was dismissed after the courts ruled there was a “lack of personal jurisdiction.”

Blige and Universal Records challenged the plaintiffs to provide tangible proof of the records bearing any similar lyrical content, and reasonable cause that “Family Affair” was not created independently

The plaintiffs failed to respond with substantial evidence, resulting in the case being dismissed.

“Family Affair” was one of Mary J. Blige’s biggest hits, remaining atop Billboard’s Hot 100 for six weeks and selling over 4 million copies worldwide.

Blige’s last album was 2007’s platinum Growing Pains.

Dr. Dre is finalizing his third studio album Detox, tentatively planned for release this year.