French Montana has fewer worries now that a judge has partially found in his favor in a lawsuit tied to his 2013 hit “Ain’t Worried About Nothin’.”

HipHopDX has obtained a copy of the 29-page ruling by Judge Nancy L. Maldonado of the Northern District of Illinois — Eastern Division, which is dated March 30, 2023.

In the judgment, Maldonado ruled that the rapper (real name Karim Kharbouch) was granted what’s known as a summary motion to three of his five issues against producer Eddie Lee Richardson.

Richardson, who sued the “Lockjaw” rapper in 2019 for copying his copyrighted instrumental song, “Hood Pushin’ Weight,” already had conceded three of the five points in the lawsuit, making it easy for Maldonado to rule in French’s favor.

However, Maldonado denied French Montana’s request to rule that “any infringement was innocent or not willful.”

Richardson also claimed, in the lawsuit, that French Montana added the lyrics to the song, “Ain’t Worried About Nothin’,” and added remixes with other artists — including Wiz Khalifa, T.I., Lil Wayne, and Miley Cyrus — without Richardson’s expressed permission.

Richardson also claimed that the Moroccan-American rapper had been distributing the song on Apple Music since 2013.

However, in her ruling, Judge Maldonado stated that Richardson’s claim for damages stemmed not from the recording of “Ain’t Worried About Nothin'” itself, but from the 378 live performances of the song since April 2016 — and this crucial error is what caused her to deny the producer’s motion.

As a matter of law, wrote Maldonado, the issue is whether a copyright holder (in this case, Richardson) “has an exclusive right to public performance of his copyright depends on whether his work is registered as a ‘sound recording’ or a ‘musical composition.’

“While [the] plaintiff can pursue a claim based on distribution of his work under either type of registration, if plaintiff only has a ‘sound recording’ copyright, then he can only maintain a copyright infringement action for performances of his work by ‘digital audio transmission.'”

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For what it’s worth, French Montana claimed in the lawsuit that he made no money off of any of the 378 live performances of the song since April 2016 — so even if the judge ruled in Richardson’s favor, French Montana wouldn’t have any money to give Richardson for it anyway.

Tyiase Hasan, who represented Richardson, told Law360 that the case had been assigned to three different judges since it was first filed in 2019 before it finally landed on Maldonado’s desk.

What’s more, Hasan claimed that Judge Maldonado declined to make a decision on the case and chose only to rule on matters where “there were no objections and the parties were already in agreement.” Hasan said he was disappointed in the ruling, because “the infringement here is as plain as day.”

But an attorney for the “Choppa Choppa Down” rapper put the case in the “W” column.

“We believe the jury will likely not find the infringement to have been willful because the undisputed evidence shows that plaintiff reached out to French only once, in 2013, about potential [infringement] and that French referred him to the music producer, Rico Love,” said Dariush Adli of Adli Law Group PC, who represented French Montana, to Law360.

“However, plaintiff did not sue Rico Love because the 3 years statute of limitations had run on that claim.”