Oct 25, 2018

Baby Can I Hold You to copyright infringement?

Singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman has filed a copyright infringement claim against rapper Nicki Minaj alleging that Minaj has sampled her song without her permission.

It is claimed that the Minaj used a sample from Chapman's 1998 hit 'Baby Can I Hold You' in her unreleased song 'Sorry'. The rapper, whose real name is Onika Tanya Maraj, wanted to feature the song on her latest album Queen.

Despite not having permission to use the sample, the claim alleges that she recorded the song anyway and sought permission retrospectively. After formal rejections, Minaj sought permission to use the sample on Twitter, but Chapman's representatives rejected that request also.

According to the claim made by Chapman, Sorry (featuring the sample) has been teased by DJ Funkmaster Flex on his radio station and social media accounts. The claim alleges the song was then reproduced on several different websites.

In July, Minaj announced on Twitter that she was unaware she had sampled the song and asked her platform whether she should keep the released date for her album Queen or lose the song. The album was later released in August without the song.

Chapman's copyright claim says that she was 'wrongfully deprived of the right and opportunity to decide whether to allow the use of composition and the terms of use of the sample'. Her representatives commented that the action was 'necessary' to remedy the willful infringement of Chapman's rights protected by copyright legislation.  It is believed that Chapman intends to make an example of Minaj's wrongdoing to ensure the misconduct does not continue and as a warning to other would-be copycats.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com



in: Copyright, EU/International

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