Jasmine Dumile Thompson, the widow of the late MF DOOM, and Gas Drawls, the LLC that controls his intellectual property, have sued DOOM’s former A&R Egon Alapatt for copyright infringement, fraud, intentional misrepresentation and unjust enrichment. The plaintiffs claim they hold the rights to 31 of the late rapper’s notebooks currently in Alapatt’s possession. The notebooks contain rap lyrics, notes, rhymes from previously released and unreleased songs, drawings, and other ideas that the plaintiffs claim is DOOM’s intellectual property. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, also names 50 “Does,” or individuals and/or entities whose names and capacities are currently not known, acting in concert with Alapatt.
In the complaint, the plaintiffs are seeking an an injunction requiring the return of the notebooks, the destruction of any copies, and prevention of further reproduction or publication of the intellectual property contained in the notebooks. They claim Alapatt lied about how the notebooks came into his possession, and that the lie dissuaded from them pursuing legal action against him, constituting fraud. They allege that Alapatt’s possession and duplication of the notebooks has allowed him to reap “a substantial monetary benefit” and that they require compensation. They’re seeking a declaratory judgment from the Court that the notebooks are their property and not Alapatt’s.
DOOM met Alapatt while the latter was the general manager and A&R of Stones Throw Records. Alapatt is responsible for introducing DOOM and Madlib, resulting in their 2004 collaborative album Madvillainy. In 2009, DOOM officiated Alapatt’s wedding. The complaint alleges that DOOM kept the collection of notebooks in his Los Angeles studio, and by 2010 there were 31 of them. After traveling to the UK that year, he was unable to return due to immigration issues. The plaintiffs claim that in 2016, while DOOM was in the UK, Alapatt took possession of the notebooks. She claims he told DOOM that he paid the studio’s landlord “back rent” to prevent the notebooks from being destroyed, and that when DOOM asked him to return the notebooks, he refused.
When reached by email, Alapatt’s attorney said: