Nicki Minaj scored a major victory on Wednesday when a judge ruled in her favor in Tracy Chapman’s copyright infringement lawsuit.
On Wednesday, a judge handed a significant win to Nicki Minaj, stating that she did not commit any copyright infringement by experimenting with Chapman’s 1988 song ‘Baby Can I Hold You,’ reports Variety.
U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips reportedly ruled that the rappers song ‘Sorry’ falls under the “fair use” principle and not copyright infringement as Chapman claimed.
“Artists usually experiment with works before seeking licenses from rights holders and rights holders typically ask to see a proposed work before approving a license,” Judge Phillips wrote.
“A ruling uprooting these common practices would limit creativity and stifle innovation within the music industry.”
Nicki Minaj created the song ‘Sorry’ with recording artist Nasir Bin Olu in 2017. The song which borrows most of the lyrics and some of the melody from ‘Baby Can I Hold You,’ was intended to appear on Queen.
Her request to get permission to use the song was repeatedly turned down by Chapman, due to which the song was left off the album.
A leaked version of ‘Sorry’ later went viral over the internet which ended up being played by Funkmaster Flex, and a portion of the track was later aired on The Breakfast Club.
Chapman’s attorneys reportedly accused Nicki Minaj of leaking the track to Funkmaster Flex.
Although the rapper denied leaking the song to Flex by sending him an Instagram message about the song. “I had a change of heart,” she later testified. “I never sent the recording.”
Nicki Minaj’s attorneys argue that artists need to be free to utilize a variety of beats, melodies, etc. that are based on existing material before determining how the final product will sound.