Jay Z Wins ‘Big Pimpin” Copyright Infringement Case
Jay Z earned a big victory today (Oct. 21) as a judge threw out a copyright infringement lawsuit against him for his 1999 hit “Big Pimpin’.”
Osama Ahmed Fahmy, the nephew of Baligh Hamdi, an Egyptian composer whose 1957 tune “Khosara Khosara” was sampled in “Big Pimpin'," sued Hov, hitmaker Timbaland and several entertainment properties, claiming that they have exploited his uncle’s song without proper permission.
During the week-long trial, Timbaland testified that he paid $100,000 in 2001, to settle a claim about sampling Hamdi's song and believed that he had the proper rights to use it. Jay Z also said that he thought he had a valid license to use the flute notes for the song.
In court today, U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder ruled that the heir of an Egyptian composer did not have the right to pursue a copyright infringement claim. She didn't get specific on how she reached her decision, but she told jurors that the case was dismissed after hearing testimony from experts on Egyptian law.
"We think it's completely wrong, and we'll appeal," Fahmy's attorney, Pete Ross, told the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Timbaland's attorney, Christine Lepera, applauded the ruling, stating that the veteran producer has always maintained throughout the eight-year case that he didn't infringe on any copyrights to create the music for "Big Pimpin'."
Jay Z's attorney, Andrew Bart, concurred and said, "My client is pleased with and gratified by the decision."
For the past week, jurors heard testimonies from witnesses who described contracts and copyright laws in both the U.S. and Egypt. They also heard musicologists who offered different theories on how the flute notes from "Khosara Khosara" were sampled for "Big Pimpin'."
This is the second major legal case this year where a music artist is getting sued for copyright infringement. Back in March, Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and other parties were found guilty of copying Marvin Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up” for their 2013 chart-topper “Blurred Lines.” Thicke's attorneys are appealing the ruling.