Monday, January 18, 2021

Tracy Chapman: Singer Wins $450K in Nicki Minaj Copyright Lawsuit

tracy chapman - nicki minaj

*Tracy Chapman has reached a judgement in her favor in her copyright infringement lawsuit against Nicki Minaj for $450,000, according to court documents.

Chapman sued the rapper two years ago in October 2018, for sampling her 1988 song “Baby Can I Hold You.” We previously reported… the suit alleged that Minaj did not receive Chapman’s blessing to use the track on her own song titled “Sorry.” 

The singer said Nicki’s song “incorporates the lyrics and vocal melody” of the “most recognizable and memorable parts” of ‘Baby’. The suit pointed out that the “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 Minaj from releasing the track. Now that a judgment has been entered in her favor and against Minaj for $450K, the two will not have to go to trial later this year, Complex reports.

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

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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.” 

The case dragged on in court for two years until U.S. district judge Virginia A. Phillips Judge Phillips ruled in September that Minaj was protected under the “fair use” doctrine, Variety reported. However, court documents made public on Thursday show that artist offered Chapman $450,000 and she accepted.  

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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