Mixing Up Trouble: Sir Mix-A-Lot Argues Tardiness on DJ’s Copyright Claim
On Tuesday, June 2, Sir Mix-A-Lot spoke out against a lawsuit over copyright authorship brought by his former partner, declaring that the suit comes roughly two decades too late. David Ford, Mix-A-Lot’s former partner and DJ, filed suit in March in Washington federal court, claiming that he had no idea until recently that Mix-A-Lot had filed copyright registration for several songs as the sole author. Mix-A-Lot is moving to dismiss the suit, arguing that it is impossible that twenty years went by before Ford realized that he was not named as a joint author.
Per Ford’s account, he had no idea that he had not been given producing credits until he heard Nicki Minaj’s hit “Anaconda,” which incorporated the most iconic song that Ford and Mix-A-Lot collaborated on, “Baby Got Back.” Ford alleges that upon hearing Minaj’s song, he began investigating into whether it infringed upon “Baby Got Back,” which ultimately led him to discover that Mix-A-Lot had filed copyright applications that identified him as the sole author.
In Mix-A-Lot’s motion, he declares that Ford’s complaint must fail for several reasons. First, he states that the complaint is time-barred by a three-year statute of limitations that would have started running roughly twenty years ago. Second, the artist raises the laches defense, which allows for the judge to bar a claim if he or she decides that the suit is unfair to the defendant as a result of the plaintiff sleeping on his or her right to sue. Third, Mix-A-Lot explains that there is nothing that portrays any intention of co-ownership, such as a joint authorship agreement. Finally, while he does not dispute that Ford did contribute to several songs, Mix-A-Lot argues that Ford has not shown that his contributions could be independently copyrighted, a requirement under the law of the Ninth Circuit.