Friday, August 26, 2011

Rappers' 99th Problem? Frivolous Lyrical Lawsuits...Lindsay Lohan sued Pitbul

In case you were wondering whether frivolous lawsuits are a problem in the US, we offer you Exhibit A. Just last week, Lindsay Lohan sued Pitbull for the following lyric:

"Hustlers move in silence, so I'm tiptoein', to keep blowin'

I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan." (as confirmed by Pitbull)

This is part of the well-known track "Give Me Everything" which features Ne-Yo and Afrojack and seems to be in heavy rotation everywhere. It uses some very familiar lyrical tricks, namely punning and dissing on a major figure. So in this case, "locked up" means both "total dominance or control" and "incarcerated" at the same time (I know, we're nerds with zero street cred, work with us).

Lohan, filing under Stephanie Ovadia in New York, has alleged that Pitbull & Co. are defaming and exploiting the Lohan name, while causing her distress and pain. That is why she's demanding an injunction (meaning, ripping the song off the airwaves and places like iTunes) and damages.

Ridiculous waste of time? Unfortunately, this sounds just like the tidal wave of frivolous lawsuits faced by digital music companies, including Spotify earlier this month. But suits have to be dealt with, regardless of the merit, and they almost always drain money, time, while compromising other opportunities.

In that light, Pitbull is now attempting to diffuse the situation with an olive branch. That includes an apology and an invitation to the see the song performed at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) this weekend (both rebuffed by Lohan).

But the apology was double-edged, because Pitbull also pointed to a major side-effect of success. "Rapping is all about double meanings and metaphors and how you flip certain things," Pitbull said. "As hard as you work to succeed in this music business or in the entertainment, there are four or five people working hard to take it away from you."

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