It seems Beyonce, the singer-songwriter who can usually do no wrong, has ruffled a few feathers this week amidst claims that she has infringed copyright in her hit song 'Formation'.
Formation, a song from Beyoncé's sixth studio album 'Lemonade', was released in 2016. The video to the single, directed by Melina Matsoukas, depicts many socially relevant themes in America such as police brutality, black pride, the aftermath of hurricane Katrina and Louisiana Creole Culture. The music video also includes spoken clips from Messy Mya, a New Orleans born rapper, comedian and YouTuber who was murdered in 2010.
The 'Formation' music video was nominated for a Grammy and subsequently took the coveted award home. However, it is has now emerged that a copyright lawsuit has been filed against Beyonce after the estate of the late Messy Mya (born Anthony Barre) has claimed that Beyoncé's team have used his voice and lyrics in her music video without gaining the proper consent.
Beyoncé's team have responded to this by exclaiming that they obtained all the necessary licences and even if they hadn't "the use of 10 or fewer seconds of audio from the YouTube videos is protected by the fair-use doctrine". The filing from Beyoncé's legal team goes on to argue that she has "transformed the raw material in the creation of new information, new aesthetics, new insights and understandings" which comes within the acceptable provisions of the fair use doctrine.
The claimant in the proceedings has argued that the use of Messy Mya's voice at the beginning of the 'Formation' track sets the tone for the entire song and defines the introduction to the track. This is why they are requesting damages worth a staggering $20 million. Beyoncé's legal team have asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit.
This is the latest in a long line of copyright actions made against famous musicians and it will be interesting to see whether Beyoncé is able to get this claim dismissed.in: Copyright, News