Apple is being sued for using the song, “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” from Jamie xx’s 2015 Grammy-nominated album In Colour. It featured in an Apple ad advertising the iPhone 6, accompanying a home video of BMX tricks shot on the phone’s camera.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that lead singer/arranger/producer Jerome Lawson from doo-wop group The Persuasions, whose 1971 a capella track “Good Times” is sampled liberally in Jamie’s song, is suing Apple and the company’s ad agency, Media Arts Lab for unpaid royalties.
The complaint, submitted to the Superior Court in the Central District of Los , alleges that Apple and MAL are in violation of collective bargaining laws that apply to corporations negotiating with singers directly about the use of their voice in commercials. The document also claimed that Lawson’s “voice was recognized by fans of his who saw the commercial,” and that they were “deceived into falsely believing that Lawson endorsed Apple and the iPhone and/or that Lawson consented to the use of his voice to advertise Apple’s products.”
When “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” was released in 2015, it was alleged that the U.K. artist hadn't licensed use of The Persuasions' 1971 recording, "Good Times." Jamie xx was never sued. According to a 2015 Billboard article, Universal had cleared use with Persuasions member Jimmy Hayes acknowledging, "I was told about it but forgot."
However, Lawson, the lead singer in the '70s a cappella group, is now suing over the iPhone ad. The Hollywood Reporter says that “notably, he is not asserting an infringement of the sound recording. It's likely he doesn't actually control rights to "Good Times." Instead, he's contending that Apple and its ad firm, Media Arts Lab, have violated his right of publicity under California law.”
Jamie xx (James Thomas “Jamie” Smith) is an English record producer, remixer and DJ who is known both as a solo act and as a member of the London-based band The xx.