Earlier this week multiple news outlets reported that Future was going after Desiigner for copyright infringement because “Panda” sounded too similar to his song “F*** Up Some Commas.” This story came directly from an interview with the producer of “Panda”, Menace. In the interview, Menace claimed he was not being paid royalties from his work on “Panda” because of copyright lawsuits from Future and Mike Dean (Kanye’s producer).
Before the hip hop world split into Team Future vs. Team Desiigner a la Twilight, a representative from Future responded to the rumor saying it was “not true.” Dean also responded and said, “He [Menace] should get the facts straight before he speaks on my name. I let the claim go because I have better sh*t to do than fight with people over BS.” Dean went on to say that his copyright claim was about the use of stems for the beat.
Stems are the separate audio tracks like vocals or drums, that when added all together make up the entire sound recording. Copyright ownership protects either the sound recording (i.e. song, including the individual stems used) or the underlying composition (i.e. the music and lyrics).
Dean’s claim was based on an alleged infringement of one of the ingredients of the entire song.
Now before Dean is crowned King Petty, let’s remember that (1) he dropped his lawsuit and (2) stems may be just one part of a sound recording, but are extremely difficult to produce and rarely released. So even though it may seem like a minor thing, using another artist’s stems without their permission is not just a serious faux pau, but also illegal! Understanding the different rights that come with Copyright ownership is becoming a major issue for DJs and producers because of how popular it is to sample other artists’ work.
There is no denying the many similarities between Future and Desiigner, but for now the results are just memes and not legal remedies.
Information gathered from: