|Jay Z (pictured with wife Beyonce) is being sued by the heir of an Egyptian composer, who claims the rapper had no right to use a flute sample in hip-hop classic Big Pimpin'|
Jay Z is being sued by the heir of an Egyptian composer, who claims the rapper had no right to use a flute sample in hip-hop classic Big Pimpin'. In the latest twist in a long-running copyright saga over the 1999 song - which enthusiastically praises casual sex - a jury trial is set to begin on October 13 in Los Angeles against the rap mogul.
Released on Jay Z’s fourth album: Vol 3…Life And Times of S. Carter, the track opens with a Middle Eastern-sounding flute as the rapper declares: ‘It's big pimpin', baby’.
The flute sample, which duels with the beat throughout the song, turned out to be composed in 1957 by Baligh Hamdy for the Egyptian movie Khosara, Khosara. The song’s producer Timbaland has said he found the Egyptian song without any identification on a CD and that he believed it was in the public domain.
|The flute sample turned out to be composed in 1957 by Baligh Hamdy (pictured) for an Egyptian movie|
And Jay Z's side quickly tried to defuse the controversy when, in 2001, it paid $100,000 to the label EMI Arabia, which said it had rights over Khosara, Khosara. The label shared the payout with descendants of Hamdy, who died in 1993.
But the composer's nephew and heir Osama Ahmed Fahmy filed a lawsuit in US court in 2007 saying that the deal was irrelevant under Egyptian law. The lawsuit said Khosara, Khosara is ‘culturally significant’ in Egypt and local law at the time gave no ‘blanket license to make derivative works that alter or add to the copyright’. It added: ‘At the very least, regardless of the scope of the copyright license, the author is required to consent on a case-by-case basis to any alteration of his work.’
|The song’s producer Timbaland (pictured) has said he found the Egyptian song without any identification on a CD and that he believed it was in the public domain|
Now, Fahmy is seeking a greater payout from Jay Z and Timbaland - with his lawyers saying they will bring experts to assess the economic impact of Big Pimpin' from the sample. Lawyers representing Jay Z have dismissed the argument.
A court motion by the defense said: ‘The notion that people buy concert tickets to hear one song, never mind an instrumental sample contained in one song that may or may not be performed at any given concert, is beyond speculative - it is farcical.’
Jay Z - whose real name is Shawn Carter - and his wife, superstar Beyonce, are estimated to have a net worth of some $1billion. Outside of his music career, Jay Z has been an entrepreneur who formerly held stakes in the Barclays Center arena and Nets basketball team in his native Brooklyn and also leads the music streaming service Tidal.
- Daily Mail, UK