MF DOOM‘s widow, Jasmine Dumile Thompson, reportedly filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday (October 22), claiming his former label collaborator, Eothen “Egon” Alapatt, stole 31 of the late MC’s notebooks. According to Billboard, the notebooks contained tracks from Operation Doomsday (1999), Madvillainy (2004) and MM…FOOD (2004) in addition to unreleased songs ideas, musings and “other creative ideations.”
Alapatt started working with MF DOOM when he was the GM and A&R at Stones Throw Records. He’s also Madlib’s former manager and founder of Now Again Records. Alapatt has admitted to having the notebooks in the past, but Dumile-Thompson says he refuses to return them. Instead, the docs allege Alapatt wants the notebooks to be “donated to a university or government archive” or a “museum or other institution of [Alapatt’s] choosing. [The notebooks] were intended by DOOM to be secret and confidential.”
The notebooks inadvertently fell into Alapatt’s lap after MF DOOM traveled to the U.K. to perform in 2010 but was prohibited from returning to the U.S. due to immigration issues. The 31 notebooks of lyrical material were left behind in his Los Angeles studio and Alapatt “took unlawful possession” of the books about six years later, the lawsuit contends.
“Alapatt never consulted with DOOM about his acquisition of the notebooks and took advantage of DOOM’s being out the country to obtain them,” the lawsuit said. Alapatt allegedly lied to DOOM’s face about having them, but his landlord informed him that was untrue, so DOOM confronted Alapatt again.
Alapatt allegedly then told DOOM he was holding on to them because DOOM owed $12,500 in past-due rent, and Alapatt claims to have paid that rent on DOOM’s behalf. As a result, he allegedly said the physical notebooks themselves were legally his property. Dumile-Thompson suspects DOOM owed no additional rent, and Alapatt simply paid $12,500 to the landlord to buy the books.
In 2020, Alapatt apparently offered to send MF DOOM and his family photocopies of the contents of the notebooks for the “sole purpose” of allowing DOOM access but wouldn’t return the books themselves—which MF DOOM refused. Right before his October 2020 death, Alapatt sent MF DOOM a hard drive with large format scans of every notebook he lost, all of which were time stamped between 2018 and March 2020. The lawsuit claims this is proof Alapatt was infringing on his estate’s intellectual property by creating and disseminating unlawful copies of DOOM’s lyrics.
Alapatt said he doesn’t “intend to publish” the unauthorized digital copies he made, he doesn’t have to “publish” the copies of his infringing copies to be found liable.” The complaint continues, “Regardless, [DOOM’s estate] alleges that Alapatt actually shared the copies of the notebook he made with others.”
Dumile-Thompson is intent on getting the notebooks returned to the family, the photo copies destroyed and “significant compensation” for the damage Alapatt has caused. In addition to copyright infringement, the lawsuit alleges “fraud, conversion, unjust enrichment, constructive trust and declaratory relief.” The estate is also requesting a jury trial.