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Jay – Z and Timbaland in fresh moral rights action.

Written by Mark Reed on 11 March 2017

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Jay – Z and Timbaland are to defend themselves again after a long running dispute over a music composers work that was allegedly infringed on a track from their single ‘big pimpin’. In this dispute, it is claimed by Timbaland that permission was obtained by an EMI subsidiary to sample the composer’s music.

Egyptian film composer Baligh Hamdi, who has now sadly passed away, has had lawyers instructed by his family to file another action to the rappers (previous american citation: Fahmy v. Jay–Z 835 F.Supp.2d 783). The issue is that Hamdi’s family are claiming that neither EMI or their partners in Egypt had the right to agree to the use of his work. This is expounded by the frustration surrounding the type of music that Hamdi’s work has be associated with, going against his moral rights under Egyptian law which gives songwriters and composers rights over their work even if the actual copyright has been assigned to another party.

Initially, Jay-Z’s legal team claimed that because the issue regards Egyptian law, it has no jurisdiction in an American court, and was backed up by Egyptian experts who held that there was enough legal standing to pursue the case.

On appeal, Hamdi’s lawyers are now claiming that Hamdi owns the copyright of his music in both Egypt and America, and that it is his right to stop any fundamental changes to his work. Furthermore, they claim that an American court does recognise that within their Copyright Act, so know that it prohibits Americans from infringing on those rights.

This is an on-going saga, that we will keep a close eye on to see whether Baligh Hamdi’s family can finally have closure on what is clearly a tormenting matter, or whether Jay-Z and Timbaland will prevail once more.
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