Nicki Minaj is closer to freeing herself from the court case with songwriter Tracy Chapman. On Thursday, the hearing judge clearly signals that the Monster rapper is not engaged in any infringement.
The legal battle started in 2018 when Tracy Chapman sued the rapper. Chapman claimed that the Trinidadian-American rapper copied his song in her unreleased song Sorry. The case was ruled in favor of Minaj on Thursday. Judge, Virginia A. Phillips ruled that the attempt is a fair-use doctrine.
In her decision, Judge mentioned practice that an artist usually tends to experiment before copyright permission. If such an attempt is punished, t might result in limiting creativity and innovations.
Although the Judge ruled in favor of Minaj, the real battle is not yet over. Minaj’s song Sorry was created in 2017 in collaboration with Nasir Bin Olu. Tracy Chapman alleged that the song using lyrics from his “Baby Can I Hold You.”
Chapman was repeatedly asked for permission to use the song but refused. After the continuous refusal, Sorry was dropped from Minaj’s album Queen. The track was later released in 2019 to a New York radio DJ. The song was released and promoted on the internet and ended up sued by Chapman.
Minaj tried many times to get in touch with Chapman in 2017 before the release of the album. Chapman either ignored or reduced to reply. Minaj demanded a third-party license or the right to release the granted song.
The Monster rapper even took to social media to ask her fans to get together and get a Chapman license. When asked about the matter, Chapman’s lawyer replied that the songwriter and singer hold a ‘Do not sample’ policy.
During the Thursday hearing, Minaj’s Lawyer claimed that artists experiment with different studies’ and tones. He said that a ruling in favor of Chapman would impose a financial burden on the artist during the creation process, and such a duty is not suitable for free creativity.
The Judge agreed that it was a ‘fair use,’ and Minaj made no copyright infringement. She mentioned that artists have the right to use melodies and songs in studios without the third party’s approval. However, there is another matter about the distribution of music.
DJ Flex received a copy that was aired online; both Flex and Minaj denied the allegation that it came from Nicki or any of her representatives. Chapman’s attorney stressed the matter, but Judge Virginia told that a jury should only decide such an issue.
Chapman’s claims could have imposed some negative influences on the music industry. If the case had been ruled in favor of Chapman, no artist would be able to use songs for even experimentation. The artists would need permissions and licenses for listening and singing someone’s music in the studio.