Close
Report Comment to a Moderator Our Moderators review all comments for abusive and offensive language, and ensure comments are from Verified Users only.
Please report a comment only if you feel it requires our urgent attention.
I understand, report it. Cancel

Rapper sends cease and desist to Rockstar

Rapper sends cease and desist to Rockstar

Fri 11 Oct 2013 11:56am GMT / 7:56am EDT / 4:56am PDT
LegalPublishing

Daz Dillinger upset at GTA soundtrack, "I can't let them get away with it."

Rap artist Daz Dillinger, also known as Dat Nigga Daz and Delmar Drew Arnaud, has sent a cease and desist letter to Take-Two Interactive Software and Rockstar Games to block the use of his songs in Grand Theft Auto V.

He told entertainment site TMZ taking the action was about "respecting an artist's work. Rockstar didn't do that here and I can't let them get away with it."

The rapper has instructed Orange County law firm Kushner Carlson, and in its letter to Take-Two Interactive Software and Rockstar Games it revealed requests to use the two tracks in question, C-Walk and Nothin' But the Cavi Hit, were turned down after an "offensively low offer of $4,271.00 for both songs."

He is seeking the recall and destruction of all unsold copies of the game, or a better offer for the song rights, and has set a deadline of 14 days.

Daz Dillinger is currently busy promoting his upcoming album Weed Money, but is best known for his work with the Dogg Pound.

GamesIndustry International has contacted Rockstar for comment.

32 Comments

Sean Kauppinen Founder & CEO, IDEA

48 48 1.0
Never heard of this guy. I'm sure his label, likely the rights controller, did the deal. Great publicity for a nobody that no person bought the game for.

Posted:A year ago

#1
rappers...

Posted:A year ago

#2

Spencer Franklin Concept Artist

95 125 1.3
Popular Comment
Because you have never heard of someone doesn't make them a nobody... fact is he was quite popular during the Snoop/Dr. Dre - DeathRow records era of rap music, having appeared on a many popular artists albums as well as being a part of the popular Dogg Pound Gang (associated with Snoop Dogg amongst others). Rockstar understood this as well, having included his tracks as part of the "West Coast Classics" Radio station. Obviously, Rap is not a genre you care for or listen to (and I personally don't much nowadays either)..but this doesn't discredit him from having a claim to the use of his music.

He doesn't make a claim that the game is selling because of his music either, simply that his music is being used without his permission (who controls the rights at present, him or the company that purchased the now defunct label, no idea).

Your immediate dismissal because he's a "Rapper" or because to you he's a "..nobody that no person bought the game for..." is whats sad. as though that alone denies him any rights to his artistic works.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Jarrod Davis Technical director & co-founder, Jamarda Digital

1 9 9.0
Popular Comment
@Spencer Franklin

Well said... well said!

Posted:A year ago

#4

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

257 562 2.2
You have to wonder how this came about; surely the person who was compiling the song list and checking their right to use them legally would have caught this before the game went out.

Somehow I doubt R* will make too much of this, either removing the songs as requested by the C&D in a patch or paying him off.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Kevin Patterson musician

187 103 0.6
Hey Rockstar - use my songs please, I'd never sue :)
It's great exposure, I'd die for that kind of exposure.

(I wanted to add that Rockstar and others should look on sites like Soundcloud ,there are a ton of indie artists like myself that would love a chance to be on something like this just for the exposure)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kevin Patterson on 11th October 2013 6:36pm

Posted:A year ago

#6

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
Not sure a patch would be adequate, as anyone who didn't patch the game would have the track in single player.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

257 562 2.2
Not sure a patch would be adequate, as anyone who didn't patch the game would have the track in single player.
Yes, I did think about that, but asking for games to be recalled and destroying all unsold copies is a bit much if you ask me.

Bottom line is justice is a paid for service and I would guess R* hold way more cards in that arena. I see a settlement as the most viable option, but I wouldn't count out the possibility of R* playing the legal game if pushed.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike

117 127 1.1
Interesting. These are a few of my favorite cuts off the soundtrack, because I remember these tracks from way back in he day. This guy might not be familiar to you if you weren't listening to rap back in the 90's. I'm not so sure who had the rights to this track though, I would most likely thing it WASN'T Daz Dillinga. I thought that Kurupt was the main rapper on this track, and also I would think Death Row Records would hold the rights. Also, I actually would agree that $4,000 is pretty lowballin' for two tracks to be included on such a high profile release. I would think it would be more in the $15,000 to $30,000 range per track.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Christopher McCraken CEO/Production Director, Double Cluepon Software

111 257 2.3
We've heard what he and his lawyer have to say. However, my guess is...if the music is owned by a label, and R* paid the label....he has no case, which is how a lot of these go down.

Till we hear Rockstar's side of this, I'm going to say this is a tempest in a teapot.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Andrew Wilson 3D Artist

28 1 0.0
Either Rockstar secured the rights or they didn't. This is just a grab for publicity and as someone said above a more enlightened artist would just watch the extra recognition from the game and smile.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike

117 127 1.1
I agree, have yet to hear R* side. The cold reality of this situation, is this would be an ant trying to take on the 800lb gorilla. There is no way Kurupt / Daz Dillinga could sustain a legal battle with Rockstar to see anywhere close to the end of a case like this. Sadly, this is a familiar story to a lot of 90's rappers who either knowingly or unknowingly signed the rights away to some of the most classic tracks. Cappadonna of the Wu Tang immediately comes to mind as someone who is a household name, with tracks that have sold well, who is now working a laundrymat because he has zero rights to his music, and therefor makes no royalties.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike

117 127 1.1
If he were a newly minted backpack rapper or a independent artist, I could maybe see your point - but as industry professionals I find this talk a little strange. Don't we all deserve to be recognized as well as compensated for our work? Especially when our work is more or less being profited off of - if not directly, I would say at least indirectly in this case.

I realize that you might not have heard of Daz, as he is no longer a household name, but with all due respect - saying that he should sit back and be happy with the recognition and exposure is a little incongruent.

I will admit, as a designer and musician myself, I get a little prickly when these scenarios rise. It's R*, they can afford to pay artists for their work!

HOWEVER, and a BIIG however - it's totally possible that R* did deal appropriately with the label and that Daz is just "throwin' shade" as they say. ;)

Posted:A year ago

#13
For a thousand strong development team, and a million Dollar dev bill, there have been some serious ball dropping?

Posted:A year ago

#14

Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

449 423 0.9
Given the way music is played much like a radio you'd think this would automatically be covered by the PRS and US equivalent.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
I have serious doubts that Rockstar didn't secure the rights to the track, given how much attention they put into the radio stations for these games. It's possible to be sure, but I find it far more likely that Daz either does not own the rights to his own music (a sadly common situation) or he knows he sold the rights and is using this to promote his recent album (also pretty common).

It's not that big companies don't make mistakes, but they devote huge amounts of time to securing tracks for and creating radio stations, and a missed license would be a big one and one Rockstar hasn't done before. So I'm not going to assume that Mr. Daz's claim has merit until I have seen more facts.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Devante Adams designer

11 5 0.5
The article states they were offered (not the record label) $4,271.00 for both tracks and the artist turned it down, as it was classed as a derisory offer but Rockstar used it anyway. Regardless of wether you've heard of him or not is irrelevant. Since they offered monies to him directly, he clearly must have the rights (or part ownership) to the said materials.
@Kevin Patterson, Daz Dillinger has a fan base and has been established in the music business for many years. I can see from your perspective that being an unknown indie, you would probably have done the tracks for free, as it would benefit you by getting your name out there in your respective genre. But in this case your argument is mute as Daz Dillinger is not an unknown artist and his music has a value that is beneficial to Rockstar (hence why they used his two songs in the first place). Based on the age demography of the audience, the music selection is targeted at recognised music of today or recognised music of the past, in order to tap in to the fan bases of each era. Unfortunately Rockstar's (like most games companies) business model is less about promoting an unknown act than it is about exploiting the connections users have with established ones.
@ the stupid comments left by people who should no better - if your businesses are real (and I imagine they are), imagine for one second that you developed some game characters that attracted a fan base. A fan base that you had to work hard to get. Rockstar comes along and offers you $2000 to use your game characters in their game however they see fit (as the real value is your fan base not so much your content).
You decide its not enough and demand more money or you decline their offer. Rockstar decides they're going to use it anyway whether they give you the $2000 or not. What would you do?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Devante Adams on 12th October 2013 5:47pm

Posted:A year ago

#17

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

257 562 2.2
Wow, this article is bringing the heat....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FONN-0uoTHI

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 12th October 2013 5:55pm

Posted:A year ago

#18

Paul Jace Merchandiser

939 1,420 1.5
This reminds me of the dude that sued Reebok(I think) over his sneaker design and name. He went and showed them to them in a meeting but they declined not to use them, saying they weren't interested. Two or so years later they decided to mass produce them on their own, even keeping the original name. Needless to say they were sued. I feel for Daz.

Posted:A year ago

#19

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,135 1,171 1.0
It's not like Rockstar needs to start a "save our game" kickstarter anytime soon. Sounds like there are two tracks missing a signature, Daz took the right legal steps and the thing will be settled out of court without us ever hearing about it again.

What remains is a missed chance for Daz and Rockstar to have a mainstream compatible publicity stunt in which Daz is trashing the Rockstar lobby in retaliation.

Posted:A year ago

#20

Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster

461 172 0.4
@Keldon Technically no, because then he would have to be paid per broadcast of the track (every time you play it). He would at least have a few hundred thousand from that already at broadcast rates. They have to license it directly from the rights holder.

Also he can sue, even if he is not the rights holder, and should. $5000 for a license of two high grossing records in not just insulting, its a deal done in bad faith. Especially when the game made a billion in two weeks.

If he was not the rights holder, he would stand to gain nothing from this legal battle, so he obviously is.

Posted:A year ago

#21

Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

449 423 0.9
@Andrew: right of course that wouldn't work at all. How daft of me!

Posted:A year ago

#22

Shane Sweeney Academic

396 407 1.0
First of this must be human error and not deliberate. RockStar aren't Acclaim. I do think it must be a confusion between the artist and record label, but who knows, if RockStar did drop the ball, they will have to patch it out and/or cough up.

As for the price, how many songs are in GTA5? 100? 200? 200 @ $4000 songs is $1,000,000.

GTA is a bigger franchise than almost any musician, if anything cherry picking certain songs raises the profile of the artist and/or possibly brings a new audience to their music. I think the $5000 is an appropriate token gesture because both parties benefit.

Granted the Label and artist should need to agree to it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 14th October 2013 3:27am

Posted:A year ago

#23

Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike

117 127 1.1
Shane, licensed music is very expensive in games, movies, and ads; especially popular music tracks. Rockstar spent something like 250 million on the game, it wouldn't be strange at all that they spent several million dollars on just licensing music. Popular music from big groups like say Britney Spears, or Fergie (both of whom are on the soundtrack) could cost upwards of 50,000+ to license for use in the game. It might surprise you how much it an cost!

$4,000 would be the amount I would pay to maybe an indie or unknown music artist to use their music in a project.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Eric Leisy on 14th October 2013 6:43am

Posted:A year ago

#24

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

820 653 0.8
"the action was about respecting an artist's work"

And that is why he did a...

"recall and destruction of all unsold copies of the game"

Because... yeah... you have to respect the other artist's work... SURE is not about the money and SURE that is not the reason why he rejected +4k$ for ONLY TWO songs.

Makes perfect sense to me.

Posted:A year ago

#25
@Devante Adams - Not necessarily. They could simply have offered him go away money whether the case has merit or not.

Posted:A year ago

#26

Pier Castonguay Programmer

189 106 0.6
They should have stayed with the Metal radio instead of ripping it off the game. They wouldn't cause this kind of trouble. I'm really pissed off they released posters with Metal groups in the early publicity and then decided not to include it. ( http://media.rockstargames.com/rockstargames/img/global/downloads/wallpapers/games/v_jimmy_1280x720.jpg )

Posted:A year ago

#27

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

453 724 1.6
I wonder how the comments on this would go if it was an R&B soul singer like John Legend and not Dat Nigga Daz...

Posted:A year ago

#28

Spencer Franklin Concept Artist

95 125 1.3
@Alfonso Sexto

If you knew anything about licensing music, especially from established artist, $4k/per song would be insulting, especially coming from R* for a game that prides itself on the music it used for GTA5. It most definitely is about the money, he says that in the article, and he has a right to complain about the low-ball offer, as well as a right to not only decline that offer, but to pursue them for more money if they decide to use his music anyhow. Of course, we don't know what deal R* made with any other person who may have control over said songs, but based on the articles information alone, this artists claim has merit.

Your response being, that somehow it's his fault for not accepting the low-ball offer, and that it's greed that has him up in arms is flawed. Would you not be up in arms if someone used your work after you expressly declined them permission to? Would you not be seeking to be compensated for that use, at a price that you (not R* in this case) deem fair? If R* did use his music without his permission, even after asking and being denied, seems they have then left themselves open to having to pay whatever amount the artist would have been agreeable to, not what they wanted to pay for it.

Posted:A year ago

#29

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

820 653 0.8
@Spencer Franklin

Keeping aside the amount of money, I still find hypocritical to hear this musician talk about "respecting the work of others" while he demands the "destruction of all unsold copies".

Why didn't he asked for the removal of those song via a patch, for example? What happens with the rest of songs in the game? with the artwork made by other artists? with the story wrote by other writers? with the voice acting of the voice actors? Do they deserve less respect or less merit?

So yes, I agree with you he has the right to complaint. But he should not be talking about respect when his demand here sounds like if he were the only artist involved in this project.

Just my point, of course... :)

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 17th October 2013 11:06am

Posted:A year ago

#30

Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

449 423 0.9
@Alfonso: he was referring specifically to respect in terms of the lousy offer.

And he is demanding the "destruction of unsold copies" as a threat if they choose to disobey the law. So it would be R* disrespecting that since it is a rightful request given the circumstances and is a lavish threat made to make a statement about how serious they are and also to get their attention.

Obviously common sense tells us it will never come to that and it would be fair to assume Daz does not expect that either. Instead his expectation would mostly likely be that they either patch the song out or pay accordingly. And given his declination of their offer I think it would be fair to say that he is not only trying to do this for the money as he has already agreed not to have his music featuring when he said 'no' to the offer, but demanding money in this case would not suggest any double mindedness or malice or anything unjustified as his music is featured and so R* must now give a price respective of the songs value rather than underpaying (because of their breach of the law).

Of course, I wonder what you would have said if it was a band you respected?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 18th October 2013 12:25pm

Posted:A year ago

#31

Antoine Baker Aspiring Games Artist/Designer/QA Tester

2 0 0.0
@Alfonso Sexto

Let's put aside the fact he is a rapper and lets treat him like a PERSON. R* approached DAZ. R* made an offer of $4200 in which he declined. He knows his work is valuable (because if he's a nobody then OBVIOUSLY they wouldn't want his music) so he's entitled to his own price. For some unknown reason the songs make it into the game. He must've sensed something amiss because he's now taking the proper legal steps to protect his work and brand. In his right, asking them to pay up or recall and destroy unsold copies of the game as a patch wouldn't fix the dilemma.

@Anyone else
It's sad that Daz's story isn't holding any weight because he's a rapper and has to be stereotyped as going to clubs wasting his money. If you read up on him, he's actually quite business savvy and has won many court cases involving rights to his work. If this happened to an indie group, there would already be a petition to boycott the game or people would see R* as "evil" like EA or Activision. Fact of the matter is; his songs are STILL in the game. He didn't give them permission.

And as for everyone saying he's going overboard about recalling and destroying unsold copies; I believe a certain company called Sillicon Knights lost a suit against another company named Epic over the Unreal Engine. I believe Silicon Knights lost said suit and had to what? Reacall and destroy all unsold copies of Too Human and XMen Destiny. Obviously, in this case it's merely a scare-tactic to get his desired result and I hope Daz gets it.

Posted:A year ago

#32

Login or register to post

Take part in the GamesIndustry community

Register now