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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Internet celebrity sues Apple, station over iTunes 'song'

Internet celebrity sues Apple, station over iTunes 'song'
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MacNN Staff
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Mar 12, 2013, 02:29 AM
A woman from Oklahoma who calls herself "Sweet Brown" became famous over a short but colorful interview she gave to a local TV and radio station following an apartment fire, best known for the signature line from it, "ain't nobody got time for that." The line has subsequently become an Internet "meme," or widely-quoted idea or sentiment. A "song" created by Texas radio personalities following her TV interview using snippets of the KFOR appearance and a subsequent follow-up radio interview was briefly sold on iTunes, and is now the subject of a lawsuit.

Brown (real name Katherine Wilkins) gave permission to be interviewed on radio and TV over the incident (as seen below), but was not aware her words could be edited and auto-tuned into a musical "performance" that was subsequently aired on the Bob Rivers show in San Antonio TX. The "song," called "I Got Bronchitis," was eventually made available as a download on iTunes from April 16 to June 29. It is not yet known exactly how many times the track was purchased on iTunes. Brown and a co-defendant are suing Apple, the Bob Rivers Show and Citicasters (the owners of the radio station) for defrauding Brown by using her voice and likeness to sell the "song" without her knowledge or consent. "At no time did Sweet Brown [agree] to have her name, likeness, voice, statements [or] photograph used in connection with any products, songs, video productions, merchandise, goods, advertisements or solicitations for merchandise, goods or service," according to a filing in federal court. As Apple played no active role in the making or selling of the song, it may eventually be dropped from the suit. However, the case may have wide-ranging implications for sampling and songs that contain snippets of "found" recordings -- thanks to tuning technology, nearly any recorded utterance can be repurposed and added to songs, creating a potential legal headache for content creators and making it difficult for services like iTunes to promote some kinds of music that rely on samples. The initial suit called for $15 million in damages, including $7.5 million in punitive damages, but has since been revised with no set amounts. Two attorneys attached to the case originally have been granted permission to leave, citing "unresolvable differences" with the plaintiffs that required them to withdraw. The two women are currently without legal representation.
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Mar 12, 2013, 08:48 AM
How'd they come up with that dollar amount? Seems like a money grab...
"Like a midget at a urinal, I was going to have to stay on my toes." Frank Drebin, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
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Mar 12, 2013, 09:56 AM
She deserves her fair share, love her.
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Mar 12, 2013, 10:02 AM
I would imagine that NewsChallel4 has more legal grounds for a lawsuit that Sweet Brown. But sweet sure has brought joy to thousands of lives. I first saw her on Russel Howard
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Mar 12, 2013, 11:27 AM
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Mar 12, 2013, 12:34 PM
"It is not yet known exactly how many times the track was purchased on iTunes." ---- I'm sure it wasn't purchased 6.5 million times! Not even a 1/10th...not even if you include every other music service times 2. I do believe she has a case and punitive is correct but the rest is just lawyer money grab. Also see it as a stretch to include Apple but that's the only defendant whose going to have anything close to $15 million to pay.
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Mar 12, 2013, 12:51 PM
Saw the her video remix..... pretty neat. Didn't know you can do that with today's musical equipment.
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Mar 12, 2013, 01:47 PM
Because it is. Completely pathetic is what it is. The only reason Apple was drug into this is because of deep pockets. Ant the most hilarious part would be knowing how little 'she' got and how much the ambulance chasing lawyers will get.
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Mar 12, 2013, 06:03 PM
As the article says, she doesn't have a lawyer anymore. So the lawyer's not getting anything.

As for my reaction to all this, I guess I'm just surprised she's got time for that.
Charles Martin
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Mar 13, 2013, 04:47 PM
"Brown and a co-defendant are suing Apple,...". Shouldn't that be "co-plaintiff"?
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