It’s one thing to have your musical work stolen but it’s another for it to be used for a singing and defacating unicorn toy. And above that, the toy in question here is selling for over $100, far exceeding any single or music album cost. This is what The Black Eyed Peas is currently experiencing with BMG Rights Management suing the manufacturer of the Poopsie Slime Surprise, MGA Entertainment, which has a recreation of the group’s 2005 hit single My Humps as My Poops.
“First, the title of the infringing work is ‘My Poops,’ which is an obvious play on the name of the copyrighted composition, ‘My Humps,’” BMG’s lawyer Seth L. Berman, of Abrams Fensterman LLP wrote in the suit. He also goes on to cite other similarities like the melody, countermelody, lyrics, chord progression and a lead singer who “uses a similar delivery and vocal inflections as used by Fergie on the original sound recording.”
The toy has been out since 2018 and the lawsuit says they’ve had a cease and desist letter from them now for years. Not only have they said they ignored the letter, but that they’ve “generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue for Defendant.” MGA has not responded for comment as yet. They could, however claim their song My Humps is a parody which could be covered as “fair use.” And that was ruled in 1994 by the Supreme Court in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music that parody can be a form of “comment” or “criticism” of the original work which is protected by the Copyright Act of 1976.
The thing about this whole scenario is that copyright cases are reviewed in a case by case manner so that isn’t just an automatic win. And Berman knows this as he has argued the other side of this. He represented B.I.G.’s estate when poet Abiodun Oyewole claimed Biggie stole the phrase “Party and Bullshit” from a 1968 poem entitled “When the Revolution Comes.” Berman argued it was fair use and won.
So let’s take a look at a comparison of the lyrics, shall we? The original says, “Whatcha gon’ do with all that junk – All that junk inside your trunk? – I’ma get, get, get, get you drunk – Get you love drunk off my hump.” The poop version goes, “What ya gonna do with all that poop – all that poop- woo woo – I’m gonna poop oh poop poop oh yea – Gonna get loopy off my poopie.”
And this isn’t the manufacturer’s first time doing this. T.I. and Tiny Harris was sued by the manufacturer who claimed their group OMG Girlz was too close to their O.M.G. Doll line. The Harris’ countersued saying the doll line, which started in 2016 in fact stole the likeness of their girl group which was founded in 2009. The nerve. And as for the rip off dancing and pooping unicorn, that’s one hell of a way to degrade one’s creativity. That’s reason enough to sue right there.