Copyright violation costs Nicki Minaj US$450 000

3 years ago

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Nicki Minaj’s claim of ignorance has cost her an out of court settlement of 450 000 US dollars. In 2018 Tracy Chapman filed a lawsuit against the rapper for using sections of Chapman’s Baby can I hold you Tonight in her song, Sorry. Although Sorry had not been officially released, a version was leaked, and it went viral. 

Minaj and her team reached out to Chapman asking permission to use the sample. In a 2018 tweet Minaj pleaded,

“I’m torn, y’all help … Tracy Chapman can you please hit me. Omg for the love of #Queen.”

Despite this and other pleas, Chapman did not relent. She states that,

“I was asked in this situation numerous times for permission to use my song; in each instance, politely and in a timely manner, I unequivocally said no. Apparently, Ms Minaj chose not to hear and used my composition despite my clear and express intentions.”

US District Judge Virginia A Phillips had agreed with Minaj’s lawyers who argued that,

“artistes need to be free to sample music while writing and recording, without worrying about being sued once they approach the rights-holder for a licence.”

This the judge ruled,

“constituted fair use.”

In response to the settlement Chapman issued a statement

“I am glad to have this matter resolved and grateful for this legal outcome which affirms that artistes’ rights are protected by law and should be respected by other artistes,”

Chapman is on an official “do not sample” list.