In 2014, Toronto rapper Jonathan Emile reached out to Kendrick Lamar for a verse.
It was for his track 'Heaven Help Dem', which was about Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin.
Kendrick liked the concept, so he recorded some bars for the relatively unknown artist. Emile paid K.Dot for the feature. But then TDE stopped talking to him, and never issued a proper contract. He waited and waited and finally put 'Heaven Help Dem' out in 2015.
“After the song was put out, they placed a false copyright claim on the song itself and got it pulled from YouTube and SoundCloud and all that stuff," Emile told Billboard. "So, after going back and forth with these companies, they realized that they were in error and that there was no copyright claim on the song, but the damage had already been done and the momentum to promote the song had already been [lost].So Emile took TDE to small claims court last month and won $6,400.
While that may seem like small change, the uniqueness of the case could change how takedown notices are handled in the future.
“I’ve … never noticed a case where someone sued over a takedown notice. The Court seemed to say that the takedown affected the moral rights of the musician’s work or performance. Moral rights are the musician’s rights to the integrity of a work," intellectual property expert Noel Courage told Legal Feeds. These rights can be infringed if the work is modified without consent, and prejudices the musician’s reputation or honor. This is the first I have heard of the use of moral rights in response to a web music takedown.”Here's the track, which you've probably never heard.