U.S. court backs $2.1 million copyright award for song 'Whoomp!'

By Lisa Bose McDermott TEXARKANA, Texas (Reuters) - The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has upheld a $2.1 million jury award in a copyright infringement case involving the 1993 hit rap song "Whoomp! (There It Is)." The song, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts, has been the subject of a copyright dispute spanning more than a decade between Alvertis Isbell, or Bell, the president of now-defunct music company Bellmark, and DM Records, which purchased its assets for $166,000 when it went bankrupt in 1997, according to court documents. The appeals court on Thursday affirmed a 2012 jury decision that awarded Bell's affiliated designee publisher Alvert Music $2.1 million. DM Records had appealed the 2012 ruling, saying a district court judge erred in instructing the jury, which caused confusion about who owns the song's royalties. Cecil Glenn and Steven James, known as "Tag Team," wrote and produced the song and entered an exclusive producers agreement with Bellmark, according to court documents. Since then, the legal wrangling has mostly been played out in federal court in Texarkana, Texas. "After purchasing Bellmark’s assets, DM exploited the composition copyright of Whoomp!," the three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit wrote, citing the bankruptcy agreement. (Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)