Lil Wayne sued over Stones song

Rap artist Lil Wayne performs at the Second Annual BET Awards in Atlanta, Georgia, October 13, 2007. REUTERS/Tami Chappell

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A musical publishing company that owns the rights to the Rolling Stones’ song “Play With Fire” sued U.S. rapper Lil Wayne on Thursday, saying he released an altered version of the song without permission.

Abkco Music Inc accused Lil Wayne, his artistic collaborators and his record company, a unit of Universal Music Group, of copyright infringement and unfair competition.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan seeks unspecified damages.

Lil Wayne’s “Playing with Fire” is a clear derivative of the Rolling Stones song with the original lyrics and music altered in a recognizable way, Abkco said in its lawsuit.

In one example, the lawsuit said a lyric from the Stones song is “But don’t play with me, ‘cause you’re playing with fire,” and the Lil Wayne version has the line, “But you can’t blame me if I set this stage on fire.”

Representatives for Lil Wayne and Universal, owned by the French company Vivendi, were not immediately available for comment.

Abkco also said that Lil Wayne’s version uses “explicit, sexist and offensive language” and could lead the public to believe the company and the Rolling Stones approved of and authorized the new version.

Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter, was proclaimed rapper of the year in 2007 by The New Yorker magazine.

Reporting by Edith Honan, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Xavier Briand