Say it ain’t so! Funk icon George Clinton (pictured), the singer and bandleader who masterminded such classics as “Atomic Dog” and “One Nation Under a Groove,” is being forced to hand over the copyrights to four of his songs so that he can pay off a $1 million-plus debt to his attorneys.
Clinton’s former law firm, Hendricks & Lewis, who had done some work for him back in 2005, wound up suing him in 2010 for a reported $1.5 million for nonpayment of fees. According to new documents that recently surfaced, Clinton did manage to fork over $340,000 to the firm but failed to come up with the rest, so a judge ordered that the copyrights of four of his songs be given to the firm in lieu of payment.
The copyrights for the songs “Hardcore Jollies,” “The Electric Spanking of War Babies,” “Uncle Jam Wants You,” and “One Nation Under A Groove” were given to the firm. The latter song, which was released in 1978, is Clinton’s most-popular song. It was performed by the funk group Funkadelic, which was led by Clinton and was the runaway hit from the eponymous album, which is considered to be one of the greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine.The law firm can now do whatever it wants with the rights of the songs.
Once Clinton pays off his debt, the copyright of the songs can be returned to him. He has reportedly filed a motion for the reversal of the legal motion.
Earlier this year, Clinton settled a 2010 lawsuit with the mainstream hip-hop group The Black Eyes Peas for illegally using portions from his 1979 song “(Not Just) Knee Deep” for remixes of their international hit “Shut Up.”
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