Update on the Lawsuit Against John Cena and WWE

– Attorneys representing Jamal Grinnage and Eric Murray, two members of the hip hop act The M.O.P. informed the United States District Court of New York on 12/3 that on behalf of their clients, they were voluntarily dismissing their clients’ lawsuot against John Cena, World Wrestling Entertainment, Sony Music, Stephanie Music (WWE’s music publishing company) and several other entities. Judge Leonard B. Sand signed off on the dismissal on 12/8, noting it was without prejudice against the defendants.

The M.O.P. members were upset that a sample of their song “Ante Up” was used in the “My Time is Now (John Cena Theme)” track on Cena’s hip hop CD from a few years back and later subsequently used by WWE for Cena’s ring entrance theme, on DVDs, CDs, PPV, and ringtones. Two members of the group, Jamal Grinnage and Eric Murray claimed in the initial lawsuit filing that they had turned down WWE’s request to sample the song and then someone working for Next Level Publishing, a company owned by the third member of M.O.P, Daryl Pittman, later gave clearance for sampling. The lawsuit alleged the person in question (who identified himself to the defendants as the President of Next Level) was actually just an office worker for Pittman and did not have the rights to do so.

Grinnage and Murray filed suit last October, requesting damages, that they be ruled the owners of the song in question and that all DVDs, CDs, etc. using the sampled music be recalled and destroyed based on the grounds that as 66.9% owners of the original “Ante Up” sing, it couldn’t be licensed without their approval, which they never gave. There was no indication regarding why the lawsuit was dropped and there was no mention of a settlement agreement between the two sides in any court documents before the Judge closed the case.

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