Viral video star ‘Sweet Brown’ suing Apple over copyright infringement

By , Mar 11, 2013

Sweet-Brown

While she may not have time for bronchitis, it appears that Kimberly ‘Sweet Brown’ Wilkins has plenty of time for lawsuits. The viral video star has reportedly filed a copyright infringement suit against Apple for selling a track on iTunes that featured her voice.

The song was called ”I got bronchitis,” and it used several samples of Wilkins’ catchphrases from an early 2012 interview that turned her into an internet sensation. She is suing Apple, along with the producers of the track, for some $15 million in damages…

NewsOK (via CNET):

“An Oklahoma woman who found Internet fame with the catchphrase “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” has filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc., saying it did not have permission to benefit from a musical mashup of her quirky television interview.

Kimberly Wilkins, who identified herself as “Sweet Brown” in the interview, said she was defrauded when her voice and likeness were used to sell songs on iTunes, the hugely successful online music store owned by Apple.”

Wilkins was interviewed on April 8 of last year, by a reporter covering an apartment fire in Oklahoma City. With her blunt and candid responses, it wasn’t long before a video of the interview was going viral on YouTube. And then came the inevitable autotune.

According to the lawsuit, the day after the interview, representatives from the Bob Rivers Show in Seattle called Wilkins to talk about the fire. But they made no mention over the song they had produced called “I got Bronchitis,” which was uploaded to iTunes April 10.

“At no time did Sweet Brown consent or agree to have her name, likeness, voice, statements, photograph used in connection with any products, songs, video productions, merchandise, goods, advertisements or solicitations for merchandise, goods or service.”

It’s worth noting here that Apple has lost a similar copyright lawsuit in the past. Last December, it was ordered to pay $165k for essentially facilitating the sales of copyright-infringing content. So it’s very possible that Wilkins could wind up with some big cash here.

Wow, $15 million for doing a 2-minute news interview? I’m in the wrong business.

What do you think about all of this?

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  • Anon

    Suing for $15 million for some crap song? She has the nerve to walk outside with a rag on her head and thinks anyone would take her seriously. I can’t believe someone gave her a reason to try an sue someone. She has some nerve going against Apple’s team of legendary lawyers.

  • http://twitter.com/digitalfeind Dani Hayes

    She can only sue the record label, and the producers. She has no case against Apple as being a distributor, as the label has to have have the rights to the song in the first place.

    • Melvco

      I’m pretty sure since Apple received a cut of the iTunes sales, there’s grounds for a case against them.

      As mentioned in the article, it’s a similar circumstance to a lawsuit Apple lost last year involving it selling apps with copyright-infringing material in them. It didn’t write the books, but it facilitated and profited from sales.

      • pauleebe

        Apple gets a 30% cut. I’m sure it was a $.99 song, thus to sue apple for this amount, the label would need to have sold 50,000,000 copies of this song … which we can safely assume they haven’t.

        Given how sue happy America is, I’m sure she will win something, but nothing near $15,000,000 … or so I hope, gosh help our country!

      • http://twitter.com/chris12923 Chris Wagers

        If I’m nit mistaken she’s suing for 15 million total not just suing apple for 15 million. So it’s a lot less than 50,000,000 sales.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Keith-Brunson/1201669925 Keith Brunson

        You may want to reread pauleebe’s post. You are clearly mistaken.

      • Guest

        Not hard to settle this little disagreement:

        “She is suing Apple, along with the producers of the track, for some $15 million in damages…”

      • http://twitter.com/digitalfeind Dani Hayes

        I sell electronic music through various distributors, iTunes as one, and it is solely up to the record label to acquire any and all copyrights before selling your music. Apple could contest and not have to pay anything or at the most return the fees they charged, which is unlikely.

        Also I’m pretty sure it is considered fair-use and the news organization has the copyrights not her.

      • http://twitter.com/burlow burlow

        it’s not apple’s job to check that every song that’s submitted has proper distribution rights, or is it? labels need to have proper rights before submitting to apple. can’t see how apple would have the time or resources to check every submitted song (youtube doesn’t check every uploaded video, only acts on those that are requesting attention).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003172597133 Ecc Thanh

    Hey guys go check out the ain’t nobody got time for that song on youtube. LOL

    • beet

      watch?v=Nh7UgAprdpM

  • http://twitter.com/khoobler Kyle Hoobler

    Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      “Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!” the most over hyped phrase ever… its not even that cool or funny…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000603361739 Osama Muhammed

    look at what we do to people and look at what we end up with

  • http://www.facebook.com/jessie.morton.188 Jessie Morton

    aint nobody got time fo lawsuits

  • Adrian12369

    Somebody’s getting greedy…

  • Obsidian71

    Not a snow balls chance in hell. First problem is she’s suing the wrong party and second she’s never going to be able to prove that she incurred anywhere near 15 dollars in damages and third she’s not an established artist and agreed to give a public interview. Anyone can use an excerpt of your voice up to an allotted time amount. This won’t be settled and it won’t make it to court. She’s being misled by some attorney that thinks they can get Apple to settle.

    • ReanimationXP

      I dunno man, I think the judge might actually grant her 15 dollars.

  • regkilla

    Suing Apple? Aint Nobody Got Time For That!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dillon.kirton.9 Dillon Kirton

    Wow, now the internet is trolling politics, next up, Megaupload

  • iPapeto

    Lord Jesus …. Apple is om fire!!!

  • http://twitter.com/e420kush e420Kush

    I hope she loses.

  • http://twitter.com/S_Lacertosa Stefano

    WOW.

  • Kurt

    I think she deserves 30 million.

    • sk_stha

      I think you deserve 60 million, for bitching about apple. If I was Ann-Droid or ShyamSoong I would have definitely offered you the sum. Otherwise, why could anybody run after anything for so long and no reason.

      • Kurt

        @sk_stha you make no sense. Maybe you meant to send this retarded spelling to someone else. I’m sure you probably think it was so creative.

      • sk_stha

        If and only if you had some sense, you could easily understand what I mean. So, stop telling me I made no sense. You retard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lord.cthulhu Anthony Aaron Anderson

    When the news asked permission to interview her, and she consented, didn’t that give them rights to the video? If I’m not mistaken, it should be the news company sueing. Not her. But I’m no lawyer, so I could be wrong.

  • SoCoMagNuM

    If someone takes my voice to use for their profit…its my voice. My picture. I deserve a cut simple and plain. Maybe not $15mil but if ur profitting off of me..yes i should benefit as well.

    • Anon

      And that’s the law my friend. She will win quite easily. A few briefs of similar cases against Ford and Coca Cola foresee she will win. But, they wont grant her $15 million in damages.

      • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

        they always shoot high as hell she willl get around 5 million lets hope she uses it to send her kids tok college

    • Huntz

      Maybe if they sampled your voice from a song YOU made. This person clipped her dumb voice from a local news outlet. No intellectual property there.

      • SoCoMagNuM

        Oh im sorry. I forgot im not entitled to profit from my voice/photo while voice while some one else can. What year is this again?

  • Huntz

    I don’t see how a voice segment from a local media interview classifies as intellectual property rights. That lady just wants money.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      all humans want money.. its how we live…lol

  • felixtaf

    Law must be modified… If you sue for 15 million, you must at least have 7.5 million to pay (if u lose)… Let see how many lawsuits will come up like this… Suing is ok… 15 Million US dollars for damages… OMG…

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      lol^^^ so only Rich folks can sue for large amounts..hahahhahah typical elitist mentality caused by capitalism..

      • felixtaf

        No sir… It was meant to be a joke.. turned out me as rich and capitalist.. Infact am not! lol

  • http://twitter.com/bennsteward Benn

    surely she should be suing the guy who made it and youtube for hosting the video too? moron.

  • http://twitter.com/mjlonsda Matt L

    I’m not sure how she’d have copyright to a spontaneous statement uttered durin ga television interview. And the NewsOK article never uses the words “copyright infringement”.

    So I’d be willing to bet this isn’t a copyright infringement case at all. They’re probably relying on something like “likeness rights”, which are related but are not at all the same thing.