Jay-Z and Timbaland accused of copyright infringement in a $2 million lawsuit

Jay-Z performs onstage at SOMETHING IN THE WATER – Day 2 on April 27, 2019 in Virginia Beach City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Something in the Water)


Jay-Z and Timbaland are being hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit for allegedly sampling a song more than 20 years ago on two different tracks without the co-author and composer’s permission.

Lawyers representing soul musician Ernie Hines filed the lawsuit against Jay-Z and Timbaland for the 1998 song “Paper Chase” which samples pieces of Hines’ 1969 song “Help Me Put out the Flame (in my Heart),” according to The Blast. Although the song wasn’t a hit for Jay-Z, it was included in Vol. 2. Additionally, Timbaland also sampled from the song for Ginuwine’s 1999 hit single, “Toe 2 Toe,” which went on to sell 2 million copies.

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Hines, who is now 81, co-authored and composed the song and claims that he doesn’t listen to rap music and had never heard Jay or Timbaland’s songs. Hines reportedly only became aware of the sample last year.

“[Hines is a] senior citizen, does not listen to rap music, and was unaware,” Christopher Brown, Hines’ lawyer, wrote in court documents, according to The Blast.

Brown said neither Jigga or Timbaland or their respective labels, asked the guitarist for permission to sample his song or got clearance before either track dropped. For this, the artists and their labels, Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella Records, Sony Music, and Universal Music Group, have all been named in the lawsuit.

Hines, of Jackson, Mississippi, is expecting to get at least $2 million from the suit.

This isn’t the first time Jay and Timbaland have been co-named in a copyright infringement lawsuit. About a decade ago, they were sued by Osama Fahmy over the 1999 hit “Big Pimpin.”

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Fahmy, who is the heir of Egyptian composer Baligh Hamdi, filed an appeals court brief accusing the duo of sampling from Hamdi’s “Khosara Khosara” without permission. A judge dismissed Fahmy’s lawsuit in 2016, according to Forbes, saying that he had surrendered his rights after he licensed the song. But now Fahmy is alleging that the song violates the “moral rights” in the copyright agreement due to its vulgarity, according to his lawyer, Keith Wesley.

Complicating matters further is the different copyright laws in Egypt, where Fahmy holds the song’s copyright and the United States.