Will.i.am Suing Pharrell: Apparently, Will.i.am Is Trying to Own the Phrase "I Am"
Back in April, Will.i.am, the famed Black Eyed Peas frontman, released a song with Chris Brown off his latest album #willpower entitled "Let's Go" that heavily sampled the trance sleeper hit "Rebound" by producers Arty and Mat Zo. Not only was the sample nearly identical to the original track, but Anjunabeats, Arty and Mat Zo's label, never actually cleared the usage of the instrumental, meaning that Will.i.am in fact stole the song. Dance fans took to various outlets of social media to express their anger, eliciting a response from Arty's Twitter page that explicitly made it clear that Will.i.am never obtained the rights, while Mat Zo succinctly posted on his Facebook, "Will I'm Not..."
Zo still clearly hasn't forgiven Will.i.am for, on top of ripping off the track, leaving his name out of the producer credits while including Arty's, as he shouted out, "Yeah... I copied this song off Will.i.am," during his performance at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas while playing "Rebound." Above & Beyond, the British dance trio that runs Anjunabeats, even took to more Will.i.am mockery by using their characteristic video projections during a slot at EDC Chicago to show the words "This is the new single from Will.i.am... Not," before launching into "Rebound."
Will.i.am has already issued an apology to everyone involved, while Chris Brown posted on Twitter that he didn't actually know who Arty and Mat Zo are, but the "Scream n Shout" producer has already plunged himself into more legal problems, this time from the other way around. The rapper/producer is planning on taking action against fellow musician (and contributor to the biggest song of the summer) Pharrell Williams for naming his latest clothing company "i am OTHER."
Will.i.am's camp believes that Pharrell's registration would be "likely to dilute the I AM mark and the WILL.I.AM," because apparently Will.i.am believes that the phrase "I am" is a trademark exclusively reserved to him and only him. While he does in fact own the line "i.am clothing," this shouldn't necessarily grant him the right to sue every company that features the phrase "I am" in their title (Spoiler alert: there are another 1,785 trademarks with "I am" in their name according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office).
Will.i.am hasn't even released a new line on "i.am clothing" since 2011, meaning that the mark may not even be used in commerce as required by U.S. trademark law as it is not valid anymore.
Pharrell's lawyers have already retaliated and filed a response that defends their use of the "i am OTHER" mark and denies Will.i.am's charges. Pharrell himself is handling the conflict quite well, essentially saying that Will.i.am is acting ridiculously in a situation that he really shouldn't be starting considering his track record. "I am disappointed that Will, a fellow artist, would file a case against me," Pharrell said to Rolling Stone in an interview. "I am someone who likes to talk things out and, in fact, I attempted to do just that on many occasions. I am surprised in how this is being handled and I am confident that Will's trademark claims will ultimately be found to be as meritless and ridiculous as I do."
Unsurprisingly, Will.i.am's group has refused to comment.