Tracy Chapman & Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj / Tracy Chapman

It was a big win for rapper Niki Minaj last week, when a U.S. Judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled it was “fair use” and not copyright infringement when she created a song based on Tracy Chapman’s song, “Baby Can I Hold You,” created in 1988. Chapman filed suit against Minaj in 2018, claiming she lifted lyrics and melody from her song without her permission to sample it for Minaj’s song, “Sorry.” The track was dropped from her album “Queen” after permission was not secured, but she allegedly provided it to two New York City radio stations, that played it on the air.        

As Variety reported,  the decision protects the industry practice of developing a new song based on existing material, and then seeking a license from the original artist prior to release.                                 

Sources:  CNN, Essence, Instagram, New York Times, People, TMZ, Variety

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