On March 2, 2022, a Louisiana musician known as Sam Skully (“Skully”) filed a lawsuit in Louisiana federal court against recording artist “Drake” and Warner Music, among others, for allegedly stealing the instrumental from a song that Skully created, which Drake allegedly used in his hit singles “Nice for What” and “In My Feelings.” Skully filed a similar claim in 2019 that was dismissed “without prejudice” (meaning that Skully was allowed to fix the issues with his complaint and refile at a later date).
Skully released an album in 2000 featuring a song named “Roll Call” and another named “Roll Call (Instrumental).” Skully alleged that he intended for disc jockeys to use the instrumental when creating extended versions of other songs. The complaint states that this is a “customary practice” in the industry. However, copyright law generally requires that an artist that wants to use all or part of a copyrighted work obtain a license to use the copyrighted work from the copyright owner. No such authorization was given here, according to Skully.
According to the complaint, a music producer named “BlaqNmilD” took credit for Skully’s instrumental in a 2018 interview. The complaint states that BlaqNmilD created the instrumental portions of the two allegedly infringing Drake songs.
The complaint further states that the instrumental “was not newly performed and was not otherwise significantly modified or interpreted.” Skully filed suit after learning that his instrumental “had been taken and presented as the work of others.” Skully is seeking “injunctive relief” (a court order stopping Drake and the rest of the defendants from using Skully’s instrumental), “declaratory relief” (a court order stating that the defendants’ copyrights in these musical portions are invalid), damages and profits stemming from the defendants’ exploitation of the instrumental, and attorney fees and costs associated with Skully’s suit.
Skully is represented by Mark E. Andrews of Andrews Arts & Sciences Law LLC.
Counsel information for the defendants is currently unknown.
The case is Nicholas et al. v. Pigott et al., case number 2:22-cv-00537, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
* Lowe & Associates (“The Firm”) is an entertainment and business law firm located in Beverly Hills, California. The firm has extensive experience handling cases involving copyright infringement, having provided top-quality legal services to its clients since 1991. The Firm is recognized for its many achievements, including successfully litigating many high-profile cases.
Find us at our website at www.LoweLaw.com.