Rick Ross Sues LMFAO Over “Shufflin” Line

Posted: January 5, 2014 by ericbernsen in Music, News
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The subject of song lyrics violating copyright laws has become more prevalent in recent years with the Internet allowing artists the opportunity to financially capitalize if others copy/plagiarize their “art”. Here we have another example of this as hip-hop mogul Rick Ross has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the LA-based electronic pop duo LMFAO. The issue at hand is LMFAO’s use of the phrase “Everyday I’m shufflin” in their chart-topping song “Party Rock Anthem” released back in 2010. Ross claims that he got there first on his own hit “Hustlin” which contains the lyric “Everyday I’m hustlin”.  

According to a lawsuit filed in Florida federal court, “The use of Hustlin’ in ‘Party Rock Anthem’ is readily apparent, despite the slight change from ‘Everyday I’m hustlin’ …’ to ‘Everyday I’m shufflin’…” and constitutes, inter alia, the creation of an unauthorized derivative work.”

Rick Ross is no stranger to this side of the legal system as he just gained a First Amendment victory in a dispute with famous drug dealer “Freeway” Ricky Ross over the use of his name. Ross is taking the stance that not only has LMFAO benefited from the sales of “Party Rock Anthem”, the phrase has been leveraged in movies, TV shows, advertisements as well as being influential in the duo’s highly successful clothing line.

Personally, I think this is a stretch and while artists have the right to take legal action when they feel their work has been unjustly repurposed, many are taking advantage of the chance to merely get lucky in court and cash in. The relationship between creative freedom and intellectual property protection is now convoluted with the presence of slang phrases in hip-hop/pop music becoming increasingly popular.

Overall, yes there are similarities between the respective phrases and the manner in which they were used in the songs. But as the culture evolves artists have to realize that, for better or worse, lyrics and anthems that go viral are inevitably going to be imitated. Sometimes it will call for legal action, other times the best plan of action will be to sit back and do nothing. Rick Ross did not suffer from LMFAO becoming successful with “Party Rock Anthem” and as a hip-hop fan, we wish he would stay out of the courtrooms and focus more on his music.








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