The pioneering group of twerk music 2 Live Crew find themselves amid another court battle as the legendary hip-hop group attempts to take back control of their music catalogue from the record label Lil’ Joe Records.
Pushing back against 2 Live Crew, Lil’ Joe Records has asked a Florida federal court to disallow the group to use the termination right in a complaint filed on Thursday. Back in November of 2020 the rap group notified Lil’ Joe Records of their plans to get their music catalogue back by using the termination right.
According to Billboard, the termination right is a provision that enables creators to regain ownership of their works decades after the creators sold them. The notice was filed by living members of the hip-hop trio Luther “Luke” Campbell, Mark Ross and the heirs of their deceased member Christopher Wong Won, according to Billboard.
Lil’ Joe Records has been owning 2 Live Crew’s work since 1995, purchasing their music after the group’s previous record label Luke Records Inc. went bankrupt that same year, according to the Thursday lawsuit.
The deal between Lil’ Joe Records and 2 Live Crew resulted in the Florida record company becoming the owner of their publishing rights and masters. Additionally, Lil’ Joe Records also has control of the trademarks to the group’s name, according to Billboard.
Although 2 Live Crew should be able to utilize the termination right, Lil’ Joe Records is ensuring as best as they can that the court would be legally obligated to deem them ineligible. The record label is claiming that the group is ineligible to invoke the termination right because they “failed to file proper notices” and certain parts of bankruptcy law “trump” termination rights, according to Billboard.
To strengthen their legal case even more, Lil’ Joe Records plans to argue that the music 2 Live Crew made was created as a “so-called work-for-hire on behalf of their music label.” This means that 2 Live Crew never owned any rights to their music to begin with, according to Billboard.