U.S. judge tosses 'Big Pimpin' copyright lawsuit against Jay Z

Wed Oct 21, 2015 3:53pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A federal judge on Wednesday threw out a copyright infringement lawsuit that accused rapper Jay Z and hip hop producer Timbaland of using an Egyptian musician's melody without permission in their 1999 hit song "Big Pimpin'."

U.S. District Court Judge Christina A. Snyder ruled that the plaintiff in the case, a nephew of late musician Baligh Hamdy, did not have standing to assert copyright infringement of his uncle's music, Jay Z's attorney Andrew Bart said.

Hamdy's nephew, Osama Ahmed Fahmy, filed a complaint in 2007 alleging that Jay Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, and his team had used his uncle's 1957 song "Khosara, Khosara" without permission.

"Our client is pleased with and feels vindicated by the decision," Bart said in a statement.

Snyder's decision came after three days of trial testimony.

"We disagree strongly with the ruling and intend to appeal," Keith Wesley, a lawyer representing Fahmy, said in a statement.

Jay Z testified at the trial last week, telling the eight-member jury that acquiring rights to songs was not his responsibility.

Hip hop producer Tim 'Timbaland' Mosley said he believed Hamdy's track was license free, but once he learned of the complaint, he paid $100,000 to EMI Music Arabia to acquire the rights.   Continued...

Rapper Jay Z arrives at a United States District Court to testify in downtown Los Angeles, California October 14, 2015.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni