BMG, the publisher of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ 2015 hit ‘Uptown Funk’, is facing a lawsuit over claims it failed to pay royalties to the families of the Gap Band members.
The writers of the 1979 Gap Band track ‘Oops Up Side Your Head’ – group members Ronnie Wilson, Charles Wilson and Robert Wilson, as well as record producer Lonnie Simmons and Rudolph Taylor – were added to the list of co-writers a few months after ‘Uptown Funk’ was released . The reasons for this were never revealed.
Now, Billboard reports that the families of Ronnie and Robert Wilson have alleged that BMG has not paid them the royalties they are entitled to. “Despite its obligations to account for and pay Plaintiffs their share of all revenues received from the ‘Uptown Funk’ musical composition, BMG has refused and failed to provide either the funds to Plaintiffs or an accounting despite Plaintiffs’ repeated demands, ” lawsuit states.
Ronson and Mars are not involved in the lawsuit.
This was told by the Wilsons’ lawyer, Michael Steger Billboard that they have “worked for years” to receive proper credit and royalties for the use of the song and “have no choice but to pursue legal action to protect their rights.”
BMG did not respond to Billboard’s request for comment.
‘Uptown Funk’ has been the subject of three other lawsuits since its release. Ronson and Mars were sued in 2016 for copyright infringement by Minneapolis funk band Collage, who claimed the pair’s 2014 track was “a blatant, striking and/or substantially similar copy” of their 1983 single ‘Young Girls’. Both sides later agreed to drop the case.
In 2017, Lastrada Entertainment, which owns the rights to Roger and Zapp’s 1980 song ‘More Bounce To The Ounce’, filed a lawsuit against Ronson, claiming he copied their track. The lawsuit was also dropped at a later date.