Orrin Lynn Tolliver Jr, a DJ in Cleveland, Ohio, has been awarded damages of over $1.2 million (£750,000) in a lawsuit over the improper sampling of his 1983 single ‘I Need A Freak’, which was most recently used by the Black Eyed Peas on their hit single ‘My Humps’.
According to Yahoo News, Tolliver recorded ‘I Need A Freak’ at friend James McCant‘s studio, with McCant registering the song with rights management agency BMI and crediting Tolliver as the songwriter.
Tolliver told the court that McCant had agreed to pay him 75% of royalties from the use of ‘I Need A Freak’, but then denied this and began offering the track out for use. Despite Tolliver sending McCant a cease and desist letter, he continued to offer up the track for sampling, with the Black Eyed Peas among those to use it.
During the case, McCant gave several different versions of what he believed had happened. He first denied issuing a license, then he claimed he had co-written and owned ‘I Need A Freak’, before attempting to obtain a musicologist expert’s report that ‘My Humps’ didn’t use a sample of Tolliver‘s work. Finally, he claimed that he owned the composition by virtue of a copyright assignment.
‘My Humps’ has so far sold over two million copies in the US alone.