Jay Z’s Big Pimpin sampling lawsuit just grew legs.
This battle has been going on for 8 years now with not much coverage – all that may change now.Â The long-running litigation over whether Jay Z rightfully sampled an Egyptian tune in his hit single “Big Pimpin'” is getting closer to resolution. The trial has been scheduled for Oct. 13 and the judge on Monday, indicated sheâ€™d likely deny Osama Ahmed Fahmy‘s motion for summary judgment against the rapper.
Fahmyâ€™s lawsuit centers on the composition “Khosara, Khosara” from the 1960 Egyptian film Fata ahlami, which Jay Z and Timbaland (who is a co-defendant) turned into the unmistakable hook of the rapperâ€™s 2000 single. Fahmy claims he’s an heir of â€œKhosara Khosaraâ€ composer Baligh Hamdy and sued the rapper for copyright infringement, also naming Paramount Pictures, Warner Music, UMG and MTV among the defendants.
Years ago, the judge permitted Fahmy to argue thatÂ his “moral rights” were violated via the original composition having been â€œmutilated.â€Â (Moral rights, recognized in Egypt, differ from the â€œeconomicâ€ rights to reproduce the recording.)
In a February motion for summary judgment, Fahmy went at the dispute from a different angle. â€œThis Court previously ruled that a genuine issue of disputed fact exists as to whether the agreements upon which Defendants rely grant them the right to make a derivative work from â€˜Khosara Khosara,’ ” reads the motion. â€œThe jury need not decide that issue, however.”Â
Fahmy contends the record company that licensed â€œKhosara Khosaraâ€ to Timbaland never had the right to license the song in the first place.
Timbaland made a deal with EMI Arabia, which had a deal with the Egyptian record label Sout el Phan. Fahmy had licensed “Khosara Khosara” to Sout el Phan. He claims EMI Arabia’s license to the song expired in 2007. But furthermore, he claims that while he permitted Sout el Phan to license the song to companies like EMI Arabia, the EMI affiliate couldn’t itself license the song without his permission.
â€œThatâ€™s the real problem here,” argued Fahmy’s attorney, Keith Wesley of Browne George Ross, in court Monday. “Sout el Phan said, ‘EMI Arabia, you can use it, but you can’t go out and give away rights to someone else. I donâ€™t have authority to do that, and the copyright owner hasnâ€™t given me rights to do that.’ “
The record company defendantsâ€™ lawyer, David Steinberg of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, responded that Fahmy did give consent for EMI to further license the composition. “He had the chance to say, ‘I don’t want to allow sublicenses.’ The whole notion of whether he consented to them is frankly undisputed,” said Steinberg. â€œAt very least thereâ€™s an issue of fact,” he added.Â Let’s see how this ends up.