Jan 12, 2021

You got a fast car… and now so does Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman is an American singer-songwriter who is most famous for her hits “Fast Car” and “Give Me One Reason”. Back in 2018, Chapman brought a copyright claim against Nicki Minaj alleging that Minaj had used part of her song “Baby, Can I Hold You Tonight” in Minaj’s unreleased song “Sorry”.

“Sorry” was a song wrote by Minaj and Nas in 2018 that was never officially released however it was leaked to DJ Funkmaster Flex and ultimately went viral. Minaj claims the song was based on the dancehall track “Sorry” by Jamaican artist Shelly Thunder, however, unbeknown to Minaj, this track was based on the earlier hit by Chapman. Minaj became aware of the connection and requested permission from Chapman to use her composition. Chapman declined.

In an earlier Judgment, US District Judge Virginia Phillips ruled in favour of Minaj and ordered that any use of Chapman’s work was fair use. In her Judgment, Phillips stated that any alternative ruling would uproot these common practices of sampling and therefore limit creativity and stifle innovation within the music industry. Notwithstanding the Judgment, Phillips did order a trial to take place to determine how the song was leaked and distributed, and whether that in fact constituted copyright infringement. Chapman has since accepted Minaj’s offer of $450,000.00, which include Chapman’s costs and legal fees to date.

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

Posted by: Tom Staveley in: Copyright

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