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Jay Z and Timberland have successfully defended the use of a sample in the song “Big Pimpin”

Written by Sam O'Toole on 22 October 2015

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After a week-long trial Shawn Carter (Jay Z) and Timothy Mosley (Timberland), have defended the sampling of the 1957 song Khosara Khosara by Egyptian composer Baligh Hamdi, the sample was used in Jay Z’s 1999 single “Big Pimpin”.

It was argued that Jay Z did not have permission to sample the song, along with the issue that the sample was used in an offensive way that violated the composer’s moral rights under Egyptian law.

Shawn Carter and Timothy Mosley testified that they had paid $100,000 to EMI Music Arabia for the licence to use the hook in the song.

US District Judge Christina Snyder dismissed the lawsuit after ruling that Osama Fahmy, the nephew of the composer, did not have the right to seek a claim for copyright infringement. Whilst also ruling that Egyptian law did not apply.

Pete Ross, Osama Fahmy’s attorney commented “We think it’s completely wrong, and we’ll appeal”.

This is not the first, nor will it be the last case that arises from sampling used in western pop songs. In 2005 the Chemical Brothers sampled Najat Aatabou, Moroccan singer, in their hit “Galvanize”.  Madonna was involved when she sampled Fairuz, a Lebanese singer, in her song “Erotica”.  However, no law suits were filed.

Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were not so lucky when it was held that they had plagiarised Got to Give It Up by Marvin Gaye. They were ordered to pay $5.3m after being reduced from $7.4m to the Gaye family. 

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