In 1982 O'Sullivan took his former manager Gordon Mills to court over his original contract, ultimately winning back the master tapes to his recordings as well as the copyrights to his songs. Nine years later in 1991, O'Sullivan went to court again to sue the rapper Biz Markie
, who used an unauthorized sample from this song in his track "Alone Again," which appeared on Markie's third album, I Need A Haircut
. The judge made a landmark ruling in O'Sullivan's favor that the rapper's unauthorized sample was in fact theft. From this point on, artists had to clear samples or be subject to costly lawsuits.
O'Sullivan talked about the case in 2010 at a screening for the movie Out On His Own: Gilbert O'Sullivan
. He said Biz Markie's record company approached him about sampling the song, and O'Sullivan asked to hear it before granting permission. "Then we discovered that he was a comic rapper," said Gilbert. "And the one thing I am very guarded about is protecting songs and in particular I'll go to my grave in defending the song to make sure it is never used in the comic scenario which is offensive to those people who bought it for the right reasons. And so therefore we refused. But being the kind of people that they were, they decided to use it anyway so we had to go to court."