Jay-Z and Rihanna Fend off Copyright Claims

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Musicians Jay-Z, Rihanna, Roca-A-Fella, and WB Music Corp. are fending off copyright claims over use of samples from other songs in the 2009 hit ‘Run This Town’.   The allegations are just another in a long line of copyright infringement claims against Jay-Z over sampling of older tracks on his popular songs, including most famously on his 1999 smash hit ‘Big Pimpin.’

Jay-Z and Rihanna are being sued by TufAmerica Inc., a group that has been buying up rights to songs. TufAmerica has sued Kanye West, Christina Aguilera, and the Beastie Boys in recent months, alleging copyright infringement when songs are sampled.

TufAmerica filed suit in federal court in New York State earlier this month against Jay-Z and the others, alleging copyright infringement based upon illegal sampling of a 1960s Eddie Bo song called ‘Hook & Sling.’  Bo was a New Orleans based funk, soul, and jazz artist who died in 2009.  TufAmerica acquired rights to the Eddie Bo song in 1996, and recorded its interest with the U.S Copyright Office in 2000.

Now Jay-Z is fighting back with a motion to dismiss the matter, arguing that plaintiff’s claims are not original enough to merit copyright protections.  “Simply put, plaintiff cannot enjoy a monopoly over the word ‘oh’ as a matter of well-settled copyright jurisprudence. Plaintiff fails to state any cognizable claims for copyright infringement.”

Copyright infringement can be tricky business.  If you or your business use copyrighted material without the permission of the creator, you are strictly liable, regardless of whether you knew about the misuse or not.

If you are a copyright holder and questions about infringement, or what it means for claims of copyright infringement against others, you need an experienced Georgia business litigator who understands the ins and outs of copyright law on your side.  Attorney James J. (“Jim”) Thomas II has more than 35 years of courtroom experience in the Atlanta area, and has represented professional athletes, individuals and businesses of all sizes. Jim is a business litigation expert who can handle complex business litigation as well as analysis, evaluation, and resolution of existing and potential litigation.  Give Jim a call at 404-869-5248 or visit www.litigationatlanta.com online.

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