By Rebecca Haithcoat, Fri., May 13 2011
Playboy gets (Young) Money.
Last June, Playboy Enterprises Inc. sued rapper Drake for copyright infringement. The Hefner empire claimed that The Young Money/Cash Money Records artist’s breakthrough song “Best I Ever Had” used samples from the 1975 song “Fallin’ in Love” by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds.
Well, it obviously did. And what you (and apparently, Lil Wayne’s lawyers) didn’t know is that Hugh Hefner once had a record label himself, and owned the rights to that number one ’70s ballad.
Playboy wasn’t always the joke it is today. In its early years, people really did read it for the articles, and by the end of the 1950s, the magazine was selling more than a million copies a month. To celebrate with class, Hef threw the first Playboy Jazz Festival.
The record label, which included Hef’s girlfriend and Playmate Barbi Benton but also legitimate acts like The Hudson Brothers (one fathered Kate, one produced Aerosmith), eventually was sold and relaunched as a jazz label.
But Playboy Enterprises still owns the rights to “Fallin’ in Love” and it seems that the Cash Money camp didn’t clear the sample.
Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow dismissed the infringement suit, but said that Playboy could petition to re-open the case if the settlement hadn’t been paid by mid-July.
Considering that Drake’s single was No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, the EP including the single sold almost 500,000 copies, we’re betting that settlement is gonna cost Young Money a lot of moola, baby.