Photo: Getty Images, AFP
Given that Abkco, the publishing company that owns the rights to the early Rolling Stones catalog, is so litigiously protective of its recordings that not even Girl Talk will sample the band, we thought it might’ve been a bad idea for Lil Wayne to include that reworking of “Play With Fire” on Carter III — and it turns out it was! Yesterday, Abkco filed a lawsuit in Manhattan charging that Wayne’s version, “Playin’ With Fire” is “explicit, sexist, and offensive” and was recorded without permission. Though the melody, arrangement, and lyrics are changed (the Stones version’s chorus is “But don’t play with me, ‘cause you’re playing with fire”; Wayne’s is “But you can’t blame me if I set this stage on fire”), lawyers for the publisher claim the song is “clearly derivative” with “the original music altered in a recognizable way,” pretty much exactly like how the Stones used to recognizably alter old blues songs. We suppose it’s a good thing for all parties involved that Robert Johnson had a more relaxed attitude toward copyright law.
In other Rolling Stones news, this morning the band ditched longtime record label EMI for Universal, which is also home to Lil Wayne. Awkward!
Lil Wayne Sued For Stones Copyright Breach [Billboard]
Universal Music Signs Rolling Stones Deal [Reuters]