Saturday, July 09, 2011

Jack Urbont Ain't Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit

Jack Urbont is an 80-year-old guy who wrote the theme songs for a bunch of TV shows, including Mission Impossible, Mannix, and Video Vixens. He also wrote the theme for the Iron Man cartoon:

Not nearly as jazzy as the Spider-Man theme song, but it may soon become incredibly lucrative for Mr. Urbont. All of you (and by that I really only mean Mark and maybe Dave) recognize that this 23 second song appears in its entirety at the beginning of Supreme Clientele, Ghostface Killah's magnum opus and quite possibly the greatest hiphop album of the 21st century.

Mr. Urbont just caught wind of Supreme Clientele, which came out over 11 years ago, and he isn't happy about it. I know this because he filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York in which he alleges that he was not paid for the use of the song.

Here is the complaint. Ghostface Killah's real name is Dennis Coles. So when he pays taxes, gets a driver's license, opens a bank account, buys a house, etc. he goes by Dennis Coles. If you sue him you bring your complaint against Dennis Coles. Which Mr. Urbont did. But throughout the complaint, after first referring to "Dennis Coles, p/k/a 'Ghostface Killah,'" Urbont's lawyer simply calls him "Ghostface." It's fantastic.

Even more fantastic is this preemeptive strike against a laches defense from paragraph 32:

Urbont is over 80 years old and would not normally encounter the Defendants' rap music in the ordinary course of his dealings in the music industry or otherwise.

I suspect Ghostface may have a statute of limitations defense, unless a claim accrues each time an album (or the song) is sold. I'll leave that analysis to the professionals.

My favorite claim is Urbont's count of unfair competition, which in a nutshell is:

Defendant Ghostface is also known by the name "Tony Starks" which is a take-off of the name "Tony Stark," Iron Man's real name and true identity. In this way, Defendants' use of Urbont's "Iron Man Theme" gives them a substantial commercial advantage by linking Ghostface to Iron Man without paying for it.

I love this because (1) there is no Iron Man, so he has no real name and true identity; (2) Urbont didn't create the Iron Man character so nothing was misappropriated from him in this regard; (3) Ghostface released an album titled Ironman in 1996 and refers to himself as Ironman or Tony Starks in all his albums, including "The Pretty Toney Album," indicating that Mr. Urbont didn't dig too deeply into GFK's discography; and (4) what substantial commercial advantage could possibly accrue to GFK in 2000 by tying himself to a pre-Robert Downey Jr. version of a comic book character? Comic books aren't cool and they certainly aren't hood. If anything it took a real badass like Ghostface to turn a nerdy comic book into something with street cred.

The best part of this case is yet to come: discovery. I salivate at the thought of getting to review Ghostface Killah's emails over the past 11+ years. And can you imagine what his deposition will be like? I envision a transcript peppered with "C'mon son," "Nah mean," and "Word is bond God."

I eagerly await Mr. Coles' Answer. I'll keep you posted as the case develops.


rob said...

best post ever

zman said...

In other news, Jeter is 5-5.

Mark said...

This is amazing. I request a regular updates.

Danimal said...

that's pretty cool and i only know gfk thru u chaps.

the gruden/pryor rerun is on now...haven't seen. is this a new show?

50 hrs into my daddy duty wkd and i am wiped.

Mark said...

Fairly New. It debuted a couple weeks ago.

Pretty cool that G:TB exposed Danimal to GFK.

TR said...

On a (barely) related note, I made the executive decision a couple weeks ago to replace The Boneyard with Classic Hip Hop on my Sirius pre-sets. It has been thoroughly enjoyable to get the random Eric B & Rakim and De La Soul tracks. My wife did not love hearing Pharoahe Monch's Simon Says as much as I did, considering our kids were in the car. I guess "Simon says get the fuck up" and "girls, rub your titties" are not family-friendly lyrics.

TR said...

I'm drunk and alone so this may be the scotch talking, but the blues documentary "Lightning in a Bottle" is fucking awesome. It tells the story of the blues through a blues all-star concert at Radio City. I DVR'd it off Palladia.

David "Honeyboy" Edwards is the coolest cat on the planet.

Mark said...

While we're sharing. I just watched Inception for the first time. Solid fucking flick.

Mark said...

Oh, and I'm drunk.

rob said...

the crowd at the seattle/portland match sounds like a european crowd - very cool

Mark said...

Not as cool as the USA-Brazil match form earlier today. That was fucking awesome. No, better than awesome. Exactly why we follow/enjoy sports.

Dave said...

thanks for holding down the fort zman (including comments on SoD though you knew there was no way in hell i was in any state to read them)

this is a fantastic case-- i hope i am as crabby as mr. urbont when i'm 80-- and at least he'll learn a thing or two about hip hop before he dies.

rob said...

rest of the obftgtbers seem to be functioning as poorly as i am today.

T.J. said...