Klein & Wilson

Copyright infringement case against Jay Z begins

Opening arguments in a copyright infringement case against rap superstar Jay Z and producer Timbaland were heard in a California courtroom on Oct. 13. The suit was filed eight years ago by the nephew of deceased Egyptian composer Baligh Hamdi.

According to media reports, Jay Z and Timbaland are accused of illegally sampling a Hamdi love ballad called "Khosara, Khosara" on Jay Z's 1999 hit "Big Pimpin." Both defendants argue that they properly purchased the rights to the song from EMI Music Arabia and an Egyptian company. Timbaland even claims to have signed a $100,000 check as payment.

However, the lawyer for Hamdi's nephew alleges that the defendants were legally required to obtain approval from the late musician's estate before placing "vulgar and demeaning" lyrics over the track. He says that the case is about "moral rights" in the United States and Egypt. Attorneys for Jay Z and Timbaland counter that only a snippet of "Khosara, Khosara" was used and Hamdi's nephew waived his right to sue when he signed contracts with the defendants.

Jay Z, 45, is expected to testify in the trial. In addition to "Big Pimpin," his hits include "Hard Knock Life," "99 Problems," "Ride or Die," "I Just Wanna Love You," "Izzo" and "Empire State of Mind." The co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records has won 21 Grammys.

Copyright infringement disputes can be complex and protracted. California companies or residents who believe that they have had their intellectual property rights violated may want to meet with an attorney who has experience with these matters. Legal counsel could explain all the remedies available to address copyright infringement and help to ensure that the client's intellectual property rights are protected.

Source: Latin Post, "Jay Z, Timbaland Expected to Testify in 'Big Pimpin' Infringement Suit," Glenn Minnis, Oct. 14, 2015

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