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French Montana and producer Harry Fraud are facing a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by a musician named Skylar Gudasz, who claims the pair sampled one of her songs without permission.
The lawsuit, obtained by Rolling Stone, alleges Montana and Fraud’s 2022 collaboration “Blue Chills” features an uncleared sample of Gudasz’s 2020 song “Femme Fatal.” Gudasz further claims that French Montana and his reps were in the process of securing a license for the sample, but the rapper released “Blue Chills” before the deal was finalized.
Per the suit, “Blue Chills” “splices” the first verse, chorus, and other parts of “Femme Fatale” while also “speeding up” the original recording to “make the sample faster and have a higher pitch.” It also states that “Blue Chills” has been streamed over 10 million times on streaming services since its release last year, while the music video has racked up four million views on YouTube.
Reps for French Montana (real name Karim Kharbouch) and Harry Fraud (Rory William Quigley) did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.
According to Gudasz, she first heard about the potential sample through DMG Clearances, a company that specializes in obtaining music licenses for various purposes. After Gudasz informed DMG that she was the sole writer and publisher of the song, as well as the sole owner of its recording and composition, DMG told her they were working with French Montana, who’d used “Femme Fatale” as a sample on “Blue Chills.”
DMG and Gudasz lawyer, Shawn Nolan, “negotiated most or all material terms” of a licensing contract. Per the suit, the deal would’ve netted Gudasz $7500 upfront, plus a 50 percent share of the “Blue Chills” publishing and .08 percent of the new song’s master royalties. But on June 17, 2022 before the deal was completed and signed, Gudasz claims French Montana released “Blue Chills” (the song opens French Montana and Harry Fraud’s collaborative album, Montega, released one week later on June 24, 2022).
A few days after “Blue Chills” was released, Gudasz’s lawyer contacted DMG about the song’s unexpected arrival. DMG reportedly responded, “Oh jeez… reaching out to Adam Zia,” referring to French Montana’s attorney. Gudasz says DMG “continued to maintain there would be a final agreement,” and a flurry of emails and invoices were sent to French Montana and his team to “make timely payments pursuant to the agreement.”
But, the suit claims, despite “repeated promises from Defendants and DMG, no signed agreement, fees, royalties, licensing agreements or monies have ever been sent to Plaintiff or received by Plaintiff.” Gudasz claims this indicates the defendants “were wrongfully repudiating any agreement and wrongfully infringing on” the copyrights to “Femme Fatale.”
The suit also alleges that French Montana has acknowledged Gudasz’s ownership of “Femme Fatale” not only through private correspondence but public statements. The suit says Montana and Harry Fraud both congratulated Gudasz on Instagram while also acknowledging her contributions to “Blue Chills” during an interview on Apple Music’s “Rap Life Radio.”