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Originally published Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 11:10 AM

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Fed magistrate orders rapper Lil Wayne to turn over records in copyright infringement lawsuit

A federal magistrate on Wednesday ordered rapper Lil Wayne to turn over financial records for his Grammy-winning album, "Tha Carter III," to a music publisher accusing him of copyright infringement.

Associated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS —

A federal magistrate on Wednesday ordered rapper Lil Wayne to turn over financial records for his Grammy-winning album, "Tha Carter III," to a music publisher accusing him of copyright infringement.

A lawsuit filed in May 2008 claims Lil Wayne didn't have permission to sample folk singer Karma-Ann Swanepoel's song "Once" in his track "I Feel Like Dying."

"I Feel Like Dying" wasn't a track on "Tha Carter III," but a lawyer for Urband & Lazar Music Publishing said Lil Wayne promoted the album by singing that song in concert and allowing fans to download it for free on his Web site.

U.S. Magistrate Daniel Knowles III in New Orleans ruled that Urband & Lazar, which published "Once," is entitled to review records about the sale of "Tha Carter III." Knowles issued a protective order to keep the records under wraps.

"Only experts and attorneys have a right to see it," he said.

The suit says Lil Wayne's record label, Cash Money Records, failed to negotiate a license to use Swanepoel's song before millions of people downloaded "I Feel Like Dying."

In court papers, Lil Wayne's lawyers said Swanepoel made several unsuccessful requests to appear in a music video for "I Feel Like Dying" or to perform alongside the rapper.

Melvin Albritton, a lawyer for Urband & Lazar, acknowledged Lil Wayne didn't directly profit from "I Feel Like Dying."

"It's more akin to promotional material," he said. "He used the infringing work to promote himself."

Albritton claimed plans to include "I Feel Like Dying" on "Tha Carter III" were scrapped after the lawsuit was filed.

Shantell Payton, one of Lil Wayne's attorneys, said the rapper doesn't control the Web site where fans downloaded "I Feel Like Dying." Payton also denied the song helped Lil Wayne promote his album.

"Quite simply, 'I Feel Like Dying' did nothing for Mr. Carter's career," Lil Wayne's lawyers wrote in court papers.

Lil Wayne is a New Orleans native whose real name is Dwayne Carter Jr. Swanepoel is a native of South Africa now living in Florida, according to Albritton.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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