PHILADELPHIA – An aspiring Philadelphia songwriter faces a stiff penalty for filing a lawsuit in which he claimed that he created the beat for a track on Xzibit's platinum-selling album "Restless" (search).
A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that music business hopeful Michael Lowe (search)'s copyright infringement lawsuit against the rapper, several record companies and one of the song's credited authors — Dr. Dre (search) — was frivolous.
The judges also upheld a lower court's order that Lowe pay Dr. Dre's legal fees and court costs, which amounted to about $35,000.
Lowe's lawyer didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the ruling.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Lowe's legal claim was doomed from the start, even if it were true that he laid down the beats underpinning the song "X."
Lowe's story was that he recorded the beat first, then presented it to rap producer Scott Storch in the hope that he would pass it along to Dr. Dre for use in song. In a legal deposition, Lowe said he never expected any compensation in return for the beat.
The court said that if Lowe indeed gave away the track freely, he couldn't sue over it now.
Storch consistently maintained that Lowe had nothing to do with the song.
"Restless" lists songwriting credits for "X" to Xzibit, Dr. Dre and Melvin Bradford, a rap writer who goes by the stage name Mel-Man.