Jay Z and Timbaland are finally headed to court for a long-winded legal battle over a song made sixteen years ago. The two collaborated on “Big Pimpin” from Jay’s Vol. 3…Life and Times of S. Carter album. But the track contained a melody from an Egyptian sample from a composition titled “Khosara, Khosara” by an artist named Baligh Hamdi. The track was featured in the 1960 Egyptian film Fata ahlami. A foreign subsidiary of EMI unearthed these intricate details when Hov’s song dropped.
Initially, Timbaland paid EMI a hefty $100,000 to settle any disputes, and gain rights to use the sample. But unfortunately, he failed at his attempts at making peace. And the case resulted in becoming one of the longest lawsuits in entertainment and American history, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Now, the two are scheduled to go to court and testify on October 13.
Osama Ahmed Fahmy, Hamdi’s nephew–who is going up against EMI, Universal Music, Paramount Pictures, Jay Z and Timbaland over a documentary made on Jay and MTV for a Jay Z special–filed the lawsuit in 2007 in California Federal Court. All because of the buzz “Big Pimpin’” created.
Jay Z’s team affirms that they have properly licensed “Khosara, Khosara,” which stems from the lump sum Timbaland paid EMI. And Fahmy reached an agreement with the Egyptian outlet that gave EMI the rights, which means the Fahmy heirs got a nice payback in exchange for song rights.
“Pursuant to the 2002 Agreement, Plaintiff gave up exclusive control of all rights in Khosara that have application in the United States, and therefore he has no standing to bring any claims,” stated the defendants (Jay Z and Timbaland’s) notes.
But of course, Fahmy’s lawyers have another agenda, which goes as far back as Egyptian moral codes in regards to an author’s rights in the African country:”The evidence will show that the defendants did not enter into valid agreements that ‘expressly and in detail’ — including indicating the range, purpose, and period and place of exploitation — convey the right to use ‘Khosara, Khosara’ in ‘Big Pimpin”,” explains the plaintiffs’ memorandum. “The evidence will also show that the defendants did not obtain the consent of the author or his heirs to introduce modifications in or additions toKhosara Khosara; therefore, any license to economically exploit ‘Khosara Khosara’ in ‘Big Pimpin” would be null and void.”
Yet the defendants responded by stating that the opposition’s claim is not concrete because Egyptian moral code is not valid in the United States. “Throughout the course of this litigation, Plaintiff has consistently tried to make this a case about so-called ‘moral rights,’ complaining for example that under Egyptian law, authors and their heirs can always refuse to permit use of a composition in manners deemed to be ‘objectionable,’ regardless of whether they previously gave up all of their economic rights in connection therewith. This Court, however, already has properly determined that moral rights have no application in the United States, and cannot support Plaintiff’s copyright infringement claims,” states the claim.
There’s no denying that Fahmy’s team is coming on strong. Their lawyers are bringing musicologist Judith Finell to the stand, which also testified on behalf of Marvin Gaye’s family during the “Blurred Lines” trial, with a slew of other experts.
Further details on this case are still pending.