Judge Rules Nicki Minaj Protected Under ‘Fair Use’ in Tracy Chapman Copyright Infringement Suit


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Nicki Minaj has emerged victorious in her legal battle with singer Tracy Chapman after a judge ruled in the rapper’s favor in a copyright infringement lawsuit.

We previously reported, Chapman hit Nicki with a lawsuit in 2018 claiming she infringed copyright laws by using her music without permission.

The suit alleged that Minaj did not receive Chapman’s blessing to sample her 1988 song “Baby Can I Hold You” on the track “Sorry”. Champman said Nicki’s song “incorporates the lyrics and vocal melody” of the “most recognizable and memorable parts” of ‘Baby’.

The suit pointed out that Chapman’s “lyrics and vocal melody comprise approximately half” of “Sorry” and are “easily recognizable and identifiable as Chapman’s.”

Chapman sought damages and an order preventing Nicki from releasing the track.

In her response to the lawsuit, the hip-hop star noted that Tracy “has not properly registered her claim to the copyright in the Composition” and that she “is not the owner of the copyright in issue and therefore lacks standing to bring the claims alleged in the Complaint.”

The rapper “admits that her representatives made several requests for permission to release a musical interpolation that used music and lyrics from [‘Baby Can I Hold You’],” something Chapman said she repeatedly denied.

A leaked version of “Sorry” was played by Funkmaster Flex, and The Breakfast Club aired a portion of the track.

Nicki’s lawyers argued that a ruling in Chapman’s favor “would impose a financial and administrative burden so early in the creative process that all but the most well-funded creators would be forced to abandon their visions at the outset.”

U.S. district judge Virginia A. Phillips Judge Phillips ruled this week that Minaj was protected under the “fair use” doctrine, Variety reports.

“Artists usually experiment with works before seeking licenses from rights holders and rights holders typically ask to see a proposed work before approving a license,” Judge Phillips wrote. “A ruling uprooting these common practices would limit creativity and stifle innovation within the music industry.”

Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj fans think she has already given birth following her pregnancy reveal on July 20. Many have noted on social media that she has only been spotted in public once since the announcement.


Tags: Tracy Chapman, Nicki Minaj

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