Tracy Chapman won her copyright infringement suit over Nicki Minaj, who will pay the singer-songwriter $450,000
- Tracy Chapman has won a copyright infringement
lawsuitagainst Nicki Minaj.
- Chapman filed a lawsuit against Minaj in October 2018 over claims that the
rapper's song "Sorry" used the singer-songwriter's 1988 track "Baby Can I Hold You" without permission.
- Documents from California's federal Central District Court state that Minaj and Chapman reached a settlement in December 2020. Minaj will pay Chapman $450,000.
- Chapman's lawsuit states that in July 2018, Minaj's team sent a formal request to Chapman, asking to "interpolate" — or re-record the lyrics and melody — of "Baby Can I Hold You."
- Chapman's team denied Minaj's request, but Chapman believes that the rapper used "Baby Can I Hold You" in her song prior to sending the request, according to the lawsuit.
- "Sorry" was never released officially but was reportedly leaked by a DJ on the New York City radio station Hot 97.
Documents made public on Thursday from California's federal Central District Court viewed by Insider state that the parties reached a settlement in December 2020. Minaj will pay Chapman $450,000 as part of her judgment in the case.Chapman initially filed the lawsuit against Minaj in October 2018. Chapman claimed that the rapper's song, "Sorry," a collaboration with Nas, included a sample of the singer-songwriter's 1988 track "Baby Can I Hold You" and was taken without permission.
Minaj never released "Sorry" on an album or as a single.According to a court document viewed by Insider, Chapman alleged in her initial complaint that Minaj's "infringing work" was leaked by a well-known DJ, Funkmaster Flex, on a New York City radio station, Hot 97.
The fair use doctrine allows the use of copyright-protected work without permission from the creator for purposes like education, criticism, news reporting, and more. Peter W. Ross, a lawyer for Minaj, told the New York Times: "We settled for one reason only. It would have cost us more to go to trial."
Chapman told the Times in a statement that she believes the outcome of the case "affirms that artists' rights are protected by law and should be respected by other artists."
"As a songwriter and an independent publisher I have been known to be protective of my work," the artist said. "I have never authorized the use of my songs for samples or requested a sample. This lawsuit was a last resort."In recent years, musicians have accused each other of plagiarism or copyright infringement over songs that allegedly included samples or lyrics without permission. Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, and others have been accused of ripping off others' music.
Legal representatives for Chapman and Minaj, respectively, did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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