Lawyers for the founding members of the 1960s band The Turtles allege in a lawsuit filed overnight in Los Angeles that Sony Music owes royalties for sampling the group’s instrumental “Buzz Saw” in a D-Nice rap hit featured in a recent TV spot for Ford’s F-150 truck.
Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman — known as Flo & Eddie of The Turtles — contend that in 1990, Zomba Recording Corp. entered into an agreement with the duo’s company FEI for sampling use of the 1968 R&B instrumental “Buzz Saw” in “Call Me D-Nice,” a track recorded by D-Nice — the stage name of rapper, producer and DJ Derrick Jones.
Part of the agreement allegedly specified that if the D-Nice track — which was a rap hit in 1990 — were to be used in commercials, “the parties agree to negotiate a fee,” according to the suit, which states that Sony assumed the rights to Zomba and the D-Nice recording in 2011.
Sony — which has offices in Los Angeles — licensed “Call Me D-Nice” last year to Ford Motor Company for the F-150 spot, according to the lawsuit.
“Although defendant Sony entered into negotiations with Ford … for the use of the D-Nice recording in the commercial, Sony failed to negotiate with FEI in any manner whatsoever as to the fee for the commercial, as specified in the agreement, and failed to even inform FEI that a major commercial involving Ford’s F-150 truck was `in the works,”’ the suit alleges. “Sony has never contacted FEI about the commercial whatsoever.”
The Turtles allege that by “failing to negotiate with FEI with regard to the fee for the Ford commercial, Sony has breached the agreement.”
The plaintiffs are seeking at least $100,000 in damages, plus royalties allegedly owed from sales of “Call Me D-Nice” in CD and digital form.
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