A Florida man wants rappers Lil Wayne and Birdman to show him respect — for using his voice in an album track called just that.
Thomas Marasciullo filed a copyright infringement lawsuit Friday in a Manhattan federal court against the rappers, their record label and various music distribution outlets.
The lawsuit said Cash Money Records had him cut some "'Italian-styled' spoken word recordings" in 2006, then used them without pay or permission on "Respect" and other tracks from the rappers' joint 2006 album "Like Father, Like Son" and Birdman's 2007 "5 (Star) Stunna."
A lawyer and representatives for Cash Money Records and Universal Music Group, which has a distribution and marketing deal with the label, didn't immediately return messages Friday.
The gold-selling "Like Father, Like Son" hit the top of the R&B/hip-hop album chart. Several short tracks that Marasciullo says he wrote, recorded and copyrighted — including "Loyalty" and "Respect" — feature a man's voice delivering mob-movie-flavored repartee.
Among the remarks, from "Loyalty": "The main name in this game is respect and loyalty. Family is a big thing. When we do this kind of business, everything is with respect."
The lawsuit says Marasciullo's recordings were used in four tracks on that album and five on "5 (Star) Stunna." It seeks unspecified damages for Marasciullo, who lives in Florida's Hernando County. He and his New York lawyer didn't immediately return telephone calls.
Marasciullo discovered his work had been used when his daughter discovered his "Respect" while trying buy a ring-tone version of the Aretha Franklin classic by the same name, the lawsuit said. His son also became entangled in the case when he was fired from a recording engineer job at Cash Money Records after the father started demanding payment, according to the lawsuit.
Birdman, whose real name is Bryan Williams, co-founded Cash Money Records with his brother, Ronald.
Grammy-winning Lil Wayne, born Dwayne Carter, has emerged as music's best-selling star in the last two years, though he now faces a year in jail after pleading guilty last week to attempted illegal weapons possession in a New York case stemming from a police stop of his tour bus in 2007.