Published Jan 25, 2017In a lawsuit filed Tuesday (January 24), Apple is being sued by Jerome Lawson of '70s a cappella group the Persuasions over the use of a Jamie xx song in an iPhone 6 commercial.
The song in question is Jamie xx's "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)" from 2015's In Colour. Upon its release, fellow Persuasions member Jimmy Hayes caused a bit of controversy when he claimed that Jamie xx hadn't cleared a sample of the Persuasions' "Good Times," only to later rescind his accusations and admit, "I was told about it but forgot."
Now, though, bandmate Lawson is going after Apple for using the Jamie xx song in an iPhone 6 ad — but he's not claiming a typical case of recording infringement. In fact, as The Hollywood Reporter points out, Lawson likely doesn't own the rights to "Good Times." Rather, Lawson claims that Apple and its ad company Media Arts Lab have violated his right of publicity and breached collective bargaining contracts.
The complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, states: "Lawson's voice is prominent and recognizable in the Apple Commercial. Lawson is informed and believes and on that basis alleged that Plaintiff's voice was recognized by fans of his who saw the commercial and those fans were deceived into falsely believing that Lawson endorsed Apple and the iPhone and/or that Lawson consented to the use of his voice to advertise Apple's products."
It goes on to claim that commercial also violated the collective bargaining agreements with the Screen Actors Guild (under which the commercial falls under the jurisdiction of) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Arts (under which the recording of "Good Times" falls under the jurisdiction of). Lawson claims that the process of "separately negotiated consent of the recording artists" was not obtained.
Finally, Lawson's suit claims that six months after the commercial started airing, Media Arts Lab tried to resolve the issue of not obtaining permission to use his voice by offering him "the minimum amount allowed under SAG rules for the use of his voice as if Lawson was a hired background singer instead of one of the most lauded a cappella singers in modern recording history."
Jamie xx's camp has yet to comment on the situation. Watch the commercial in question below.