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Bridgeport Music is a music publishing company founded in Michigan by Armen Boladian in 1969. It controls the copyrights to recordings by George Clinton and Funkadelic. Bridgeport Music has filed lawsuits for copyright infringement via sampling against hundreds of defendants under the federal copyright statute, 17 U.S.C., leading to them often being described as a "Sample Troll". Amongst others, Bridgeport has sued for sampling infringements in popular music produced by Public Enemy, N.W.A, Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G. - a case in which the jury awarded Bridgeport more than $4 million in damages.
Notable court cases
On May 4, 2001 in Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. 11C Music, 202 F.R.D. 229' (M.D. Tenn 2001), Bridgeport Music filed a lawsuit alleging infringement of its copyrights in several sound recordings and musical compositions through sampling. It was seeking declaratory judgement, injunctive relief, and damages in around 500 different claims against approximately 800 defendants. The court decided that these cases should all be tried separately, which resulted in 477 individual cases. Notable cases include:
- Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films
- Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Smith
- Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Universal-Mca Music Publishing, Inc.
- Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Still N the Water Publishing
- Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dm Records, Inc.
- Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Justin Combs Publishing
Controversy over rights
There has been some controversy over the rights of the George Clinton and Funkadelic catalogs. Clinton himself has claimed that the rights to the musical works were obtained fraudulently, by using a forged document from 1983 dealing with the transfer of the Malbiz catalog of songs. Jeanne Peterer Thompson, who maintained a working relationship with Armen Boladian and Bridgeport Music, has also declared that she was witness to a number of fraudulent, underhand, and racist practices from Armen Boladian and Bridgeport Music.
- "Corporate Entity Details". Dleg.state.mi.us. 1969-01-21. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- Gallagher, Ryan (2013-08-21). "The shady one-man corporation that's destroying hip-hop. - Slate Magazine". Slate.com. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "BRIDGEPORT MUSIC INC v. STILL THE WATER PUBLISHING, Nos. 02-5165 through 02-5175, 02-5227 through 02-5234., May 05, 2003 - US 6th Circuit | FindLaw". Caselaw.findlaw.com. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. 11C Music". Casebriefs. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "George Clinton Explains How Bridgeport Allegedly Faked Documents To Get His Music Rights". Techdirt. 2011-06-17. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Whistleblower lawsuit deposition, George Clinton, Brideport Music, Armen Boladian". Flashlight2013.com. Retrieved 2013-08-25.