Two companies are found guilty of unlawfully using a clip of the outfit's legendary 'Rapper's Delight'...
Hip-hop veterans SUGARHILL GANG are celebrating after a NEW YORK judge awarded them $3 million in their successful lawsuit against SNAPPLE and the powerful TURNER BROADCASTING SYSTEM INC.
The two companies were found guilty of unlawfully using a live clip of the Gang’s legendary ‘Rapper’s Delight’ in an ad in 1998 for the Goodwill Games.
When Sugarhill Gang filed their suit in January 1991, they claimed they had given permission for the performance to be broadcast only on closed-circuit television for a party at New York’s Studio 54.
“A month after we did the show, I get calls congratulating me on my new commercial,” Gang member Joey Robinson Jr told sonicnet. “I went, ‘What are you talking about?’ We never consented to it, we never got paid for it, and Snapple never wanted to settle with us.”
In court, both Snapple and Turner claimed the group knew in advance that footage would be used for television advertisements. The judge found for the rappers and during a hearing in June this year. Last Friday (December 14) a jury awarded Sugarhill Gang $165,000 (£112,000) in compensation and a further $2.8million (£1.9million) in punitive damages against Snapple and Turner.
“It was a blessing,” Robinson said. “It was like three-and-a-half years of fighting had finally come to a head. It was a cheerful joy of happiness.”