Rappers Subliminal and Babilon battle in court

NIS 300,000 lawsuit against Hip-hop star Kobi “Subliminal” Shimoni dismissed in TA District Court.

Rapper Babilon 311 (photo credit: PR Courtesy)
Rapper Babilon 311
(photo credit: PR Courtesy)
The Tel Aviv District Court on Monday dismissed a NIS 300,000 copyright lawsuit brought against hip-hop star Kobi “Subliminal” Shimoni by rival rapper Ilan “Babilon” Shoshana.
Shoshana filed the damages suit in 2006 against Shimoni, generally known by his stage-name Subliminal, and famous for his Zionist-themed music and his sartorial pairing of US-style hip-hop fashions with Jewish-themed “bling-bling” jewelry.
Shimoni’s TACT Records label, which has several popular artists on its books including r&b singer Sivan and rapper Itzhik Shamli, is also named in the suit.
Shoshana claimed Shimoni and TACT Records had violated his intellectual property rights, had failed to pay him royalties for songs and for his performances as the warm-up act in Subliminal’s concerts, and had used one of his songs on an album without his consent.
Shoshana also asked the court to declare void a copyright agreement he signed with Shimoni in 2003, and to grant an injunction against Shimoni and TACT, prohibiting them from using his musical works.
However, after hearing all the evidence, including testimony from Shimoni’s co-recording artist and fellow rapper Yoav “The Shadow” Eliasi, Judge Yehoshua Gaifman said that Shoshana had not managed to prove his claims, and ordered Shoshana to pay Shimoni NIS 40,000 in legal costs.
Among the claims raised by Shoshana’s lawyer, Assaf Rappoport, was that Shoshana’s agreement with TACT and Shimoni included royalties for the popular rap song “Peace in the Middle East,” which featured him and three other artists – Shai 360, Sivan and Gabriel Butler, alongside Shimoni.
Shoshana said he helped Shimoni market his 2002 studio album The Light and the Shadow, which Shimoni co-recorded with Eliasi.
Shoshana also claimed he should receive payment for his performances as part of the “TACT Family,” a collaboration of several of TACT Records’ rappers.
In dismissing that claim, Gaifman noted that Shoshana had not been a well-known artist at that time, and pointed to testimony from Eliasi who said Shoshana had appeared on stage for short guest performances only because Shimoni and Eliasi had permitted those appearances.
The judge also said that Shoshana was never a permanent member of the TACT Family, because he never signed an agreement with TACT Records, and stopped performing with them in December 2004.
TACT Records did not respond to a request by The Jerusalem Post for comment on the ruling.