Notorious BIG's breakthrough LP READY TO DIE has been slapped with a sales ban after a jury decided the title track features an illegal sample of the OHIO PLAYERS. US District Judge Todd Campbell awarded $4.2 million (GBP2.5 million) in damages on Friday (17MAR06) to Bridgeport Music and Westbound Records, who own the rights to the 1992 song SINGING IN THE MORNING. The sales ban imposed in a Nashville, Tennessee, courthouse on the late rapper's disc not only covers shops, but also internet downloads and radio play while Bad Boy Entertainment and the song's executive producer Sean Combs plan an appeal. Bridgeport Music and Westbound Records claim to have filed hundreds of lawsuits over unauthorised sampling, and most cases have been settled out of court. Armen Boladian, owner of Westbound and Bridgeport, says, "We've just been battling this for such a long time. So many have been settled because companies didn't want anything to do with it, and we knew we were right." Bad Boy Entertainment's lawyer Jay Bowen counters, "We think (the verdict) is without merit."