Greensleeves, Chris Brown Reach Settlement In Copyright Lawsuit Over Red Rat’s Song

Chris Brown
Greensleeves Publishing Ltd has reached a settlement to end the copyright infringement lawsuit it filed against Chris Brown and his label Sony Music Entertainment, DancehallMag has learned.

The lawsuit, which was filed in a New York District Court in July 2021, alleged that Brown’s song Privacy (2017) intentionally ripped off lyrics and rhythms from Red Rat’s song Tight Up Skit (1997).

Greensleeves, which was acquired by VP Records in 2008, had sought over $1,500,000 USD in damages, profits, and interest in the original complaint.

In a letter to the court, filed today (September 8), Greensleeves, Brown and Sony advised Judge Robert W. Lehrburger that they “have reached a settlement in principle, which fully resolves the matter.”

Details of the settlement agreement, including financial terms, were not disclosed.

Judge Lehrburger has granted a period of 45 days for the three parties to finalize the settlement’s paperwork, the court records show.
Tight Up Skirt was produced by Andrew ‘Buccaneer‘ Bradford on his Mad Lion Riddim, which included other songs like Goofy’s Buff Bay, Ghost’s Mixup Situation, and Buccaneer’s Plenty More Gal.  The song later appeared on Red Rat’s album Oh No… It’s Red Rat, which was released by Greensleeves in 1997.

Red Rat’s attorney-at-law Merrick Dammar previously told DancehallMag that the lawsuit had been filed without his client’s knowledge or permission.  They offered no comment on the settlement when contacted today.

Bradford, who is known for his own hit songs like Bruk Out, Tek It Easy, How Can She Forget, was also caught by surprise when DancehallMag contacted him about the lawsuit last year.

“I did license it [Tight Up Skirt] to VP [Records] and Greensleeves dem time de. At that time, they were two separate companies. Couple years ago, Rat called me about the tune, and Rat told me that VP owned the master rights but as far as I know, in the 90s, we producers never used to licence exclusively to Greensleeves and VP,” Buccaneer said at the time.

“I have to get a lawyer and go through the contracts and know what is what,” he added
Privacy, which appeared on Brown’s eighth studio album, Heartbreak on a Full Moon, spent 17 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 (peaking at No. 62), and 4 weeks on the UK Singles Chart (peaking at No. 86).

It is currently certified 2X Platinum in the United States, Gold in the United Kingdom, and has over 220 million views on YouTube.

Greensleeves’ lawsuit claimed that Brown and Sony’s “exploitation of Tight Up Skirt” occurred in Privacy’s chorus, which included the following phrase: “Hey you girl without a tight up skirt!”.

According to the complaint, Tight Up Skirt included 18 occurrences and variations of the phrase: “Hey you girl inna di tight up skirt!” throughout the record.

Additionally, they claimed that the rhythms during the ‘tight up skirt’ phrases in both songs were identical.

In their response to the complaint, Chris Brown’s lawyers claimed that any alleged similarities between Privacy and Tight Up Skirt were not “actionable” because they pertained to ‘commonplace, unprotectable elements; exist in prior art; are a de minimis [immaterial]; and/or constitute a fair use.’

Sony’s lawyers had also contended, among other things, that Greensleeves does not own a valid copyright for Tight Up Skirt; and that the portion of the song, which was allegedly infringed upon, was “insufficiently original to warrant copyright protection.”

Prior to the settlement, the lawsuit had deadlines for depositions and discovery set for August 30, 2022, and December 20, 2022.

In This Story: Buccaneer, Chris Brown, Red Rat

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