Rappers apparently love their obscure foreign cinema so much that they can't stop themselves from sampling music from them.
A while ago, Timbaland narrowly avoided a lawsuit over sampling a 1967 Bollywood film.
Now it's Jay-Z's turn to wage a battle in the courts over an obscure 1960 Egyptian film called Fata Ahlami.
Apparently, Jay-Z's crew thought they had obtained the proper rights, but now the children who inherited the rights are claiming that it was only a reproduction right, not a sampling-turn-it-into-a-rap-song-right, so they're claiming a breach of Moral Rights under Egyptian law — something the judge here in the states isn't completely against hearing. Moral rights do exist in the states, but, are rarely used in copyright arguments.
Here's what's happening:
The plaintiff says that to the extent the defendants obtained a license of the song for the 2000 hit “Big Pimpin,” it was merely what Egyptians call “economic rights” and only pertained to reproduction, performance or distribution of the work “without alteration.”
Egyptian copyright law also confers to owners “moral rights” over copyrighted work, which, according to the plaintiff's experts, can’t be disposed of like “economic rights.” Basically, if Jay-Z wished to “mutilate” the original song by sampling it, looping it and adding his lyrics, the plaintiff argues he needed to get the express permission of each of Hamdy's four children.
The lawsuit was said to hold grounds, and it'll be looked into further.
Wow, it'll be interesting to see where all this goes!
What do U think? Do the kids have grounds?? Did Jay-Z butcher it immorally?
[Image via Ramey Pix.]