Jay-Z vs. Abdel Halim Hafez


This has been in the courts since 2007. Seems like Jay-Z and producer Timbaland didn’t have all of their ducks in a row when they released “Big Pimpin'”. The now famous melody was sourced from Egyptian singer Abdel Halim Hafez. Have a listen and then have a look at some press quotes below.

Jay-Z - "Big Pimpin'" (1997)
Abdel Halim Hafez - "Khosara Khosara" (1960)

In 2007, the song sparked controversy when copyright co-owner Osama Ahmed Fahmy filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Federal Court, alleging that Timbaland illegally replayed portions of “Khosara Khosara” note-for-note. Jay-Z, Timbaland, Linkin Park and EMI Music Inc. were among the defendants named in the lawsuit.

This latest lawsuit follows an August (2007) decision by a California judge to dismiss another lawsuit by Ahab Joseph Nafal, who claimed Big Pimpin’ infringed the copyright on Khosara Khorasa. Lawyers for EMI Records argued the 50-year-old track was governed by the 1909 Copyright Act, AllHipHop.com reports.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Pimpin%27

An attorney for Hamdi’s heir contends the artists and their labels never obtained the proper permission from Hamdi’s heirs to use “Khosara Khosara.”

Lawyers for the pair, however, say proper permission to use the flute notes was obtained in 2001, Hamdi’s nephew has been paid for its usage and the case should be decided in Jay Z and Timbaland’s favor.

source: http://www.voanews.com/content/big-pimpin-dispute-could-be-settled-soon-for-rapper-jay-z/3012646.html


“He said that at the time, when Timbaland introduced the “Khosara Khosara” melody to him, he had no clue that it was a sample composition of Egyptian composer Hamdi.”

“Pete Ross, the counsel for the prosecution, has said in a statement that according to Egyptian Law, both Jay-Z and Timbaland are obliged to get direct approval from Hamdi or his estate before using vulgar and demeaning lyrics over “Khosara Khosara” track in “Big Pimpin.”

“Testimony in the case will draw to a close on Tuesday, and then it will be up to an eight-person jury to wade through a complicated series of contracts, correspondence and agreements that span three continents.

They’ve heard directly from Jay Z and Timbaland, who explained how “Big Pimpin’ ” came together and why they believe they have the right to use the “Khosara Khosara” notes.

Timbaland, whose real name is Timothy Mosley, paid $100,000 in 2001 to settle an out-of-court claim from a record company with rights to distribute Hamdi’s music outside Egypt.

It would be another six years before Hamdi’s nephew, Osama Ahmed Fahmy, sued Mosley and Jay Z for copyright infringement. Fahmy also asserts the raunchy lyrics of “Big Pimpin’ ” violate the “moral rights” of his uncle’s work, although that legal concept is enforceable only in Egypt and Jay Z’s lyrics are not an issue in the case.

Toward the end of his testimony Wednesday, Mosley told jurors his reaction to Fahmy’s lawsuit when it emerged so many years after “Big Pimpin’ ” was created: “So, who did I pay 100 grand to?””

source: http://www.ibtimes.com.au/jay-z-attends-copyright-infringement-trial-over-big-pimpin-1475456

Here is the original song from a scene in the 1960 film “El Banat Wel Seif (Girls and Summer)”


But WAIT! There’s More!

Check out these other Jay-Z soundalike gems:

Jay-Z vs. Ice-T vs. Trick Daddy – 99 Problems but….

Jay-Z vs. Bruno Spoerri: Jay-Z to pay Swiss jazz musician 50% of royalties


Pitbull & Ke$ha vs. Lee Oskar


This one just came across my desk. Apparently Lee Oskar never authorized the use of his”San Francisco Bay” harmonica melody in Pitbull’s “Timber”. It looks like this particular case below deals specifically with international use.

Pitbull ft. Ke$ha - "Timber" (2013)
Lee Oskar - "San Francisco Bay" (1978)

Some press on the issue:

On June 25, 2014, it was reported that songwriters Lee Oskar, Keri Oskar, and Greg Errico had filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the makers of “Timber”, which features a harmonica melody that Oskar claims is “identical” to the melody used in his 1978 song “San Francisco Bay”. The songwriters are seeking $3 million USD in damages. The lawsuit alleges that while Sony Music may have obtained permission to use the sample, which is credited in the album notes for Meltdown, from a license holder, the label failed to obtain permission from the songwriters themselves.

Here is some legal talk:

In copyright infringement action arising out of international release of song “Timber” by performing artists Pitbull and Kesha, district court dismisses claims against Sony Music Entertainment, which obtained license from co-owner of allegedly infringed work, but denies motion to dismiss claims that Sony’s foreign affiliates infringed plaintiffs’ work under foreign law.

Plaintiffs, the co-authors of “San Francisco Bay,” a 1978 song performed by Lee Oskar Levitin featuring a distinctive harmonica riff, sued Sony Music Entertainment and other domestic entities, as well as Sony’s foreign affiliates, for domestic and foreign copyright infringement following the international release of the song “Timber” by rapper Pitbull and pop star Kesha. Plaintiffs alleged that the song contains the same harmonica solo and melody as “San Francisco Bay” and that the “Timber” harmonica player was, in fact, specifically instructed to emulate Levitin’s harmonica riff. Plaintiffs also alleged that the domestic defendants made the song “available” to the foreign defendants, which, in turn, released “Timber” in the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Canada, Australia, France and South Korea. All defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim, and the foreign defendants also moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and on the basis of forum non conveniens. The court granted dismissal of only the claims against the U.S. defendants.
– Levitin v. Sony Music Entertainment – USDC, Southern District of New York, April 22, 2015


Take note guys. It takes SIXTEEN (16) people to write a song these days.  Here is what is listed on Wikipedia. Lee Oskar is on there although I don’t know if that is official. But wait… look who else is on there:

Kesha Sebert
Armando C. Pérez
Lukasz Gottwald <<<< This Guy
Aaron Davis Arnold
Priscilla Hamilton
Jamie Sanderson
Breyan Stanley Isaac
Henry Walter
Pebe Sebert
Lee Oskar
Keri Oskar
Greg Errico
Steve Arrington
Charles Carter
Waung Hankerson
Roger Parker

More Kesha

Flo Rida vs. Katy Perry vs. Kesha

Kesha vs. Flo Rida vs. Taio Cruz

Kesha vs. Alphaville

Ke$ha vs. The Residents

Chrissy vs. Ke$ha

More Pitbull

Pitbull vs. Aerosmith and Run DMC

Jay-Z vs. Bruno Spoerri: Jay-Z to pay Swiss jazz musician 50% of royalties

Jay-Z vs. Bruno Spoerri

Apparently this has been out in the open for over a year. Well it’s sorta settled now. Jay-Z will pay Swiss jazz musician 50% of royalties for using his instrumental for “Versus”. Check out some clips of the tracks below.

Jay-Z - "Versus" (2013)

Bruno Spoerri - "On The Way" (1978)

From the press:

US rapper Jay-Z has agreed to pay half the royalties of one of his songs to a Swiss jazz musician Bruno Spoerri after using his music without consent.
The rapper had denied copying instrumental ‘Lilith — on the way’ in his 2013 song ‘Versus’. But he has now agreed to pay 50 per cent of the royalties to the Swiss pianist and saxophonist, following an 18-month legal wrangle.

The American musician and record producer only admitted using the music without attribution a few months ago, according to reports.
Speaking last year, the veteran jazz musician said legal proceedings could have been avoided with a phone call.
‘In a way I’m flattered that a relatively young rapper takes a sample from an old man, a sample that is about 35 years old,’ he told swissinfo.ch.

‘On the other hand I’m furious because it would have been so simple to clear the sample. All it would have needed was a call or an email to the company and I think it would have been relatively cheap.’
Mr Spoerri, 79, has worked with the likes of Lee Konitz, Hans Kennel and George Gruntz in a career spanning nearly 50 years.
In an illustrious career, he has directed the Zurich jazz festival and music schools in Zurich and Lucerne.

DailyMail.com March 13, 2015


The following was published before the settlement:

Financially, the two musicians are at opposite ends of the music spectrum.
In 2012, Forbes estimated the net worth of Jay Z – real name Shawn Carter – from music and other businesses at $500 million (CHF450 million). Jay Z and Justin Timberlake won a Grammy award on January 26 for their collaboration on another track from Magna Carta Holy Grail.

Spoerri, who still performs once or twice a month, says what matters most to him is an apology.

“I would like them to acknowledge what happened and say sorry. And then I think it would be fine if they would put my name on the piece and in the end I want to have a part of the money that comes in.”

– SwissInfo Jan, 28 2014


Check out this other Jay-Z post:

Jay-Z vs. Ice-T vs. Trick Daddy – 99 Problems but…


And for more soundalikes that have actually made it to court check out the litigated category.