NBC & NFL Hit With Copyright Case Over ‘Sunday Night Football’ – Billboard

NBC and the National Football League are facing a copyright lawsuit that claims they used the 1988 hit “Rocket 2 U” during a Sunday Night Football broadcast without a license.

In a complaint filed Wednesday in Manhattan federal court, songwriter Bobby Nunn — who wrote and produced “Rocket” for the band The Jets — says NBC and the NFL have repeatedly used the song in broadcasts, but singled out a Jan. 3 game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

As is sometimes the case early in litigation, the complaint contained little additional detail. It included no other specific examples of infringing uses, nor any description of how much of the song was used during the broadcast. It also did not explain how the league played a role in the choice of a song during a television broadcast.

A rep for NBC did not return a request for comment on Thursday morning. A rep for the NFL declined to comment.

Nunn is best known for his 1982 “She’s Just a Groupie,” which was later heavily sampled by Snoop Dogg on his 1996 song “Groupie.” The Jets, meanwhile, had five top 10 singles on the Hot 100 throughout the 1980s, including “Crush on You” and “Make It Real.”

“Rocket 2 U,” released off the band’s third studio album Magic in early 1988, reached number 6 on the Hot 100 in April 1988, spending 22 weeks total on the chart. The song eventually received a nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 31st Grammy Awards in 1989.

The case isn’t the first time Sunday Night Football is at the center of a music copyright case. Back in 2019, country music star Carrie Underwood was accused of copying the “Game On” song played at start of the broadcast, resulting the NBC and the NFL switching back to Underwood’s earlier “Waiting All Day For Sunday Night.” The case was quickly dropped several months later.


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