8-Year Old Lawsuit Over Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin’” Going to Trial

The lawsuit over Jay Z’s sampling of an Egyptian tune in his hit “Big Pimpin’” may come to an end in October when a jury decides whether the rapper had the right to use the Egyptian composition.

Claiming that he is an heir of the composer Baligh Hamdy, Osama Ahmed Fahmy in 2007 sued Jay Z as well as Timbaland, Paramount Pictures, Warner Music, UMG and MTV.  He alleged that the rapper sampled the tune titled “Khosara, Khosara” from the 1957 film Fata ahlami without authorization to create the widely-recognized hook for “Big Pimpin’.”  On March 30, the California federal judge reportedly indicated that she would likely deny Fahmy’s bid for early judgment.

Fahmy allegedly licensed “Khosara, Khosara” to Sout el Phan, an Egyptian record label, who then entered into a license agreement with EMI Arabia.  Subsequently, EMI Arabia licensed the tune to Timbaland.  Fahmy claimed that EMI Arabia’s license expired in 2007 and EMI Arabia was not authorized to license the music without Fahmy’s permission.

UMG’s attorney David Steinberg disagreed.  He responded that Fahmy indeed gave his consent for EMI to further license “Khosara, Khosara.”  According to Steinberg, Fahmy could have refused to allow “sublicenses.”  He further commented, “The whole notion of whether he consented to them is frankly undisputed… At very least there’s an issue of fact.”  The judge agreed that a trial would be necessary to settle the factual discrepancies.

Fahmy’s attorney Keith Wesley said,

“We’re hopeful that the court reexamines the tentative in light of our comments at the hearing, and otherwise we’re looking forward to trying the case in October.”

The trial is scheduled to take place on October 13, 2015.

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