Acqua Fragile > Busta Rhymes
In 2001, to record a rap called “Genesis” US recording/performing artist Busta Rhymes and famous producer J.Dilla(RIP) do sample and manipulate a full verse of a 1974 track called “Cosmic Mind Affair” as originally recorded for Ricordi, now Sony, by an Italian prog band called Acqua Fragile for their second album “Mass Media Stars”.
Bernardo Lanzetti, lead vocalist, also wrote the lyrics and Piero Canavera, backing vocals & drums signed for the music.
The publishing company was also Ricordi, now Universal.
In 2012, by pure luck, the Italian band becomes aware of the infringement but now Busta Rhymes is a Sony artist and – guess what –“Genesis” is published by Universal!
Bernardo, appointed by the band, seeks the help of lawyers, both in Italy and the US.
Sony denies the obvious truth – one million seller “Genesis” is a full sample of “Cosmic Mind Affair”- and Universal blames it all on the 8 (eight) sub- publishers sharing “Genesis”.
In 2015, contacted by a friend Italian lawyer,“Novak, Druce & Connolly”, a well known firm in Houston, Texas, is willing to help Acqua Fragile, just working on percentage bases but still, in case of victory in court, being Sony and Universal actually the owners of “Cosmic Mind Affair”, with no sweat at all, they would have got 50% of everything!
Because of this grotesque situation, Bernardo was asked by the Texan firm, to take care of all expenses needed to notify each subject involved in the infringement:
- Busta Rhymes (Trevor Smith) plusJ.Dilla (James Yancey)’s inherits.
- J Records + BMG (first distributing Genesis) + Sony US + Sony Italy.
- Universal US and Universal Italy.
- Eight sub-publishers, where some might have gone out of business orretired or even on the run.
- Eventually, vocalist Tracy Leila who got credit for Bernardo’s vocals and
the sound engineer Vinny Nicoletti who, from Canada, got credit for recording what was actually put down on tape by sound man Gaetano Ria, producer Claudio Fabi and Acqua Fragile, in Milan in 1974.
No way the band could afford to pay a full detective agency to spread private eyes all around the US just to trace down all the above subjects so that Sony and Universal could collect some more money!
In 2017, a simple statement:
International contracts with majors, copyright and performing rights, most likely, do apply to American artists only, not so surely to Italians.
A simple question:
What do you think about a US artist, so critical against his country, using the lyrics of a science fiction theme written by an Italian guy who graduated in Texas?
How do you explain a famous US DJ and producer using the music of AcquaFragile, an Italian Prog band, and the vocals of their lead singer Bernardo Lanzetti pretending to have created an original sound?
Good to Know Acqua Fragile has just produced a brand new album called “A New Chant”, out on Esoteric/CherryRed, and is about to go live again!