In 2014, Jonathan Emile from Toronto, Canada reached out to K. Dot for a feature on a song and he got it. Kendrick liked the politically charged song so much he decided to hop on it for the relatively unknown artist…little did he know it would lead to a lawsuit.

Frankie Zing

The song was called “Heaven Help Dem”, dedicated to Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown. Emile paid Kendrick for his verse and than never heard from TDE again after months of trying to get a legal contract so he could release the song. Time came and went and no word back from Top Dawg Entertainment, so 2015 came and Emile just put the song out:

Emile told Billboard:

“After the song was put out, they placed a false copyright claim on the song itself and got it pulled from YouTube and SoundCloud and all that stuff. So, after going back and forth with these companies, they realized that they were in error and that there was no copyright claim on the song, but the damage had already been done and the momentum to promote the song had already been [lost].

Last month, Emile took TDE to small claims court and won $6,400 in which was a benchmark of a case for future cases just like this:

“I’ve … never noticed a case where someone sued over a takedown notice. The Court seemed to say that the takedown affected the moral rights of the musician’s work or performance. Moral rights are the musician’s rights to the integrity of a work,” intellectual property expert Noel Courage told Legal Feeds. These rights can be infringed if the work is modified without consent, and prejudices the musician’s reputation or honor. This is the first I have heard of the use of moral rights in response to a web music takedown.”

Hear the song below: