Tracy Chapman wins $450k in copyright lawsuit against Nicki Minaj after rapper sampled Baby Can I Hold You in a leaked track
Tracy Chapman has accepted Nicki Minaj‘s offer of $450,000 in her copyright infringement case against the rapper.
Chapman, 56, had accused of Minaj of using her song Baby Can I Hold You, without permission, in a lawsuit she filed in 2018.
Court documents became public in the case on Thursday showing that Chapman had accepted Minaj’s offer and the duo will therefore avoid trial, The Hollywood Reporter writes.
Settled: Tracy Chapman has accepted Nicki Minaj’s offer of $450,000 in her copyright infringement case against the rapper
The sum includes all costs and attorney fees related to the case.
The original lawsuit, filed in October 2018 came after the release of the Anaconda hitmaker’s album Queen.
Minaj, 38, was accused of using Chapman’s track for a 2017 collaboration with Nas titled Sorry, which, while not officially released on the album, was eventually leaked online.
The hip hops star’s representatives sought permission from Chapman to use Baby Can I Hold You, but she repeatedly refused, citing a blanket policy she has against such licensing.
Creativity: Minaj was accused of using Chapman’s track for a collaboration with Nas titled Sorry, which was leaked online
The track was not included on the album but Minaj was accused of leaking it to DJ Funkmaster Flex who then helped get the track onto the internet.
Chapman accused Minaj of providing DJ Flex with the track, but she and Flex have both denied it came from her or her representatives.
In September, a judge sided with Minaj, ruling that she did not commit copyright infringement.
US district judge Virginia A Phillips found that her use of the song constitutes ‘fair use,’ protecting a common practice in the music industry of developing new music based on existing work, and requesting license from the original artist before release.
Do not sample: The hip hops star’s representatives sought permission from Chapman, who repeatedly refused, citing a blanket policy she has against such licensing
Oldie but goodie: Minaj based her 2017 track Sorry (featuring Nas) off Chapman’s song Baby Can I Hold You, from her 1988 self-titled debut album
Judge Phillips wrote: ‘Artists usually experiment with works before seeking licenses from rights holders and rights holders typically ask to see a proposed work before approving a license.
‘A ruling uprooting these common practices would limit creativity and stifle innovation within the music industry.’
The attorney stated: ‘Such free-flowing creativity is important to all recording artists, but particularly in hip hop.
‘With that category of music, a recording artist typically goes into the studio and experiments with dozens of different ‘beats’ or snippets of melodies, before hitting upon a pleasing combination.’
Although the judge agreed, she ruled that the dispute over whether Minaj provided the music to DJ Flex would need to go to jury.
Now with a settlement deal accepted, there will be no need for the artists to go to trial.
Win: In September, a judge sided with Minaj, ruling that she did not commit copyright infringement but said it would still need to go to trial to find out if the rapper leaked the track