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‘Formation’ copyright claim continues: Beyoncé denial

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 27 September 2017

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The copyright claim made against Beyoncé’s hit ‘Formation’ rumbles on, with the star formally denying the claims.

The copyright claim was brought in February 2017 by the estate of deceased rapper Anthony Barre, known as Messy Mya.

The estate claimed that Beyoncé had used statements made by Barre within the song and video, and this infringed their copyright.

According to the claim, the ‘Formation’ video and song begin with the voice of Barré saying “what happened at the New Orleans” and “bitch I’m back, by popular demand”. They also include Barré saying “oh yeah baby”.

In April, Beyonce made an attempt to dismiss the claim seeking approval that the use was ‘fair’ and therefore falling under the exception for copyright infringement.

This attempt to dismiss was denied.

Therefore, the case moves on.

In her latest response to the claim, Beyonce denies all claims of copyright infringement and puts forward 25 defences. These defences include that the use was fair, she was acting under a license and the defences of unclean hands.

The estate are claiming for damages, injunctive relief and attorney’s costs amongst other things.

It will be interesting to see how this claim continues and will provide an interesting look in to US copyright law.

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