'Big Pimpin' Lawsuit Goes to Trial

Dec 20, 2011 - LegalZoom News Source
Rapper Jay-Z is being sued for unlawfully sampling a song for hit hit "Big Pimpin."

Rap artist Jay-Z was sued for unlawfully sampling an Egyptian song for his hit "Big Pimpin," and recently found out he'll be heading to court over the matter.

The lawsuit was filed by Osama Ahmed Fahmy, who co-owns the rights to his uncle Baligh Hamdy's song "Khosara, Khosara." Fahmy alleges the hit Jay-Z track produced by Timbaland used the melody of his uncle's song.

Jay-Z's record label, EMI, said the song was governed by the 1909 Copyright Act, which allows songs to be protected by law for 28 years, ruling out the right for the plaintiff to file the lawsuit regarding the 50-year-old song.

The judge decided Fahmy could still claim damages, but would have to prove Jay-Z profited from the song in his live performances.

“It is a question of fact whether Jay-Z’s concert revenues should be considered direct or indirect, it is up to a jury to decide," U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder said. "Accordingly, the court finds that there is a triable issue whether Jay-Z’s concert revenues constitute direct profits from his infringing live performances of Big Pimpin’ for purposes of the Copyright Act.”

According to the website CelebrityNetWorth, Jay-Z is worth more than $450 million.