July 30

Lil Nas X Faces $25 Million Copyright Lawsuit

On the heels of the 20-year-old hitmaker releasing another version of “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X is being sued for sampling another artist without their approval. The song in question is not the massive hit that’s currently on top of the Billboard charts, but the lesser-known song entitled “Carry On.”

Lil Nas X, Nas X, Old Town Road, Lawsuit

Lil Nas X and his record label, Sony, are both being slapped with a $25 million lawsuit over the allegations that the rapper had stolen from Bobby Caldwell’s classic song “Carry On.”

Lawsuit for Lil Nas X

Behind the lawsuit is a company called the Music Force, and they say that the 20-year-old Atlanta-based rapper knowingly borrowed from the title song of Caldwell’s 1982 album without permission, and then posted the song on YouTube, Spotify, and Soundcloud. 

Lil Nas X’s song, which is also titled as “Carry On,” sounds very similar to the Caldwell original. The lawsuit claimed that Nas X’s song has already received nearly 4 million views on YouTube as of early July and alleges that the rapper was “motivated by greed and malicious intent.”

Lil Nas X, Lil, Nas, Gay, Coming Out
via Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

That version has since been removed from the streaming video platforms, but The Music Force estimates that there are over 85 new illegal versions on YouTube using the alleged infringed version of the song. 

The Music Force also names Sony in the million-dollar lawsuit, even though the rapper was not signed with the label at the time that he released the previously mentioned track. However, the lawsuit argues that Sony had the responsibility to vet the “Old Town Road” hitmaker more thoroughly to make sure that he had the rights to his song before signing him. 

Lil Nas X, Billboard
via Columbia Records/Rolling Stone

The Music force claims that to Sony, it was “far more important” for them to “preserve its opportunity to enjoy millions of dollars of revenues from the success of the career of X.” The company is asking for $10 million for damages suffered and $15 million for punitive damages as punishment for their actions. 

Both Lil Nas X and Sony had not publicly commented on the issue. 

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Lil Nas X

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