Missy Elliott has filed new papers with the US courts in an ongoing dispute with producer Terry Williams who is claiming co-ownership of a number of songs written by the rapper back in the 1990s.
In her new filing, Elliott insists that Williams has failed to provide any evidence that he co-wrote the songs, while also adding that his claims are time-barred because he didn't go legal until 2018, more than 20 years after the disputed songs were written. For his part, Williams has dubbed Elliott's arguments a "sham".
Elliott did use Williams' studio in the early 1990s when writing songs for herself and others. The dispute began in 2017 when a representative for Williams tried to sell Elliott the master rights in a set of tracks that had been recorded during that time. That led to a disagreement over who owns the rights in the songs contained in those recordings, with both rapper and producer filing lawsuits along the way.
Williams specifically claims that he should have a co-writing credit on the Aaliyah song 'Heartbroken', which Elliott co-wrote with Timbaland, and on four songs from the one album released by Elliott’s early 90s group Sistas. Her new legal filing states: "As with many other lyrics, vocal arrangements and melodies Elliott created during this time, Elliott independently wrote the lyrics and melodies for the song 'Heartbroken'".
And as for the Sistas songs, "Elliott did not even know of or meet Williams until after the production on the Sista album entitled '4 All The Sistas Around Da World' was completed and the album was publicly released in 1994".
"In contrast to Williams’ unsupported claims”, last week’s court filing concludes, “Elliott has produced admissible and compelling evidence that clearly establishes Williams’ lack of a valid ownership interest in the disputed musical works".
To that end, the filing states, the court should dismiss his claims and confirm Elliott’s position regarding the ownership of these copyrights.