Nicki Minaj is being sued and the verdict could drastically affect the entire music industry.
Back in 2018, when the rapper dropped her album Queen, she worked with Funkmaster Flex, who had a popular New York radio show, to debut a track that not on the album. The single, which was a collaboration with fellow rapper Nas and is titled “Sorry,” sampled music from successful singer-songwriter Tracey Chapman‘s song “Baby Can I Hold You.”
Here’s where the issue comes in — according to The Hollywood Reporter, the song was released without permission from Chapman — prompting her to sue for copyright infringement.
In defense, Minaj’s attorney, Eric George is using the fact that artists have the right to “experiment” before obtaining clearance to use the song.
The “Anaconda” rapper’s brief states, “[I]n the process of creation, no one approaches the original songwriter (the ‘rights holder’) for a license to experiment. The musicians just experiment.”
“If something works, and the recording artist wants to release the song commercially, then the record label, managers, and attorneys get involved and seek the required permission,” the brief explains. “If it is granted, the recording is commercially released. If permission is denied, the recording is discarded; no one is harmed; and the experimentation begins anew.”
It continued, “Recording artists require this freedom to experiment, and rights holders appreciate the protocol as well. Often, the rights holder does not want to simply approve a use in the abstract – i.e., ‘any hip hop version of your song.’ The rights holder wants to hear the actual version before giving her permission.”
Whether or not this defense will work for Minaj remains to be seen, but she warns that any loss regarding this matter “should send a shiver down the spine of those concerned with the entertainment industry.”
By Danielle Long
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