By Damilola Faustino
Tracy Chapman has slammed a copyright infringement suit against Nicki Minaj in Los Angeles over the unreleased Queen track “Sorry” featuring Nas. Chapman is accusing Nicki of borrowing the lyrics and melody of her 1988 track “Baby Can I Hold You.”
“Tracy Chapman very much protects her rights and she has a right to deny a license when requested,” said Chapman’s longtime attorney, Lee Phillips, adding that Chapman has received potentially “hundreds” of requests over the decades to sample or interpolate her music and that, as far as he knows, she has never granted a single one.
This comes three months after Minaj delayed her album saying she had yet to clear the track with Chapman, and she even encouraged her fans to troll Chapman on social media to force her hand.
Minaj still didn’t get the clearance and it wasn’t long before New York DJ Funkmaster Flex teased on social media that Nicki had given him something “ft @nas” that is “not on her [Queen] album.” Funklex played the song on Hot 97 and it quickly spread across the Internet.
The lawsuit seeks to restrain Minaj from “copying or otherwise using or exploiting the Infringing Work” and to prevent third parties from doing so, as well as damages for Chapman from any profit Minaj makes from the track.
“There is no question this is infringement,” says Phillips, senior partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. “If someone asked what Nicki Minaj’s defense is going to be we have no idea.”
Read also: Nicki Minaj’s ‘Queen’ Album Goes Platinum
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