As you may have heard, Lil Wayne, his artistic collaborators and his record company were all sued last week by Abcko Music. Abcko music is a music publishing company that owns the rights to a fairly rare Rolling Stones song called Play With Fire. (The song was recently featured in Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited).
Abcko stated in a lawsuit “Lil Wayne’s “Playin‘ with Fire” is a clear derivative of the Rolling Stones song with the original lyrics and music altered in a recognizable way.”
In one example, the lawsuit said a lyric from the Stones song is “But don’t play with me, ’cause you’re playing with fire,” and the Lil Wayne version has the line, “But you can’t blame me if I set this stage on fire.”
The lawsuit also claims that Lil Wayne’s version uses “explicit, sexist and offensive language” and could lead the public to believe the company and the Rolling Stones approved of and authorized the new version.
In an attempt to settle this once and for all, we present the evidence:
LivingEars personal note… We have been big fans of the Rolling Stones song long before this lawsuit, we even put the song on a couple of mixtapes last year. Also, the Lil Wayne album has gotten plenty of spins over here and we have never made the connection. To call Wayne’s song a derivative seems a pretty big stretch. It’s just not that clear.
Given we haven’t read the entire lawsuit, and perhaps there are more examples than the one that was provided, it is probably going to be pretty tough for Abcko to prove that Wayne’s song violated Fair Use by containing a “substantial amount of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.”
Not to mention the other three points of the Fair Use Doctrine.