We know that some legal battles can take years and years to be resolved, but the case raised against Jay-Z by Baligh Hamdy’s heir, Osama Ahmed Fahmy, has been in the courts since 2007 – *cough* looks like someone decided to be inspired by never-ending Egyptian bureaucracy. The trial though is set to take place on October 13. Wait, what? What is happening? Why is America’s rapper/producer extraordinaire being sued by the noted Egyptian composer’s nephew?
The case is basically that of copyright – Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin'” track seems to feature the iconic flute solo that is basically identical to that which opens up the track, “Khosara, Khosara” Hamdy composed for the 1960 Egyptian movie “Fata Ahlami.” The soundtrack was sung by one of Egypt’s finest and most reputable singers, the late Abdel-Halim Hafez. Don’t believe us? Give both a listen and judge for yourself:
Timbaland, the track’s producer, tried to clear his and Jay Z’s names by stating that they had obtained rights to the tune from EMI Arabia, whereas Fahmy stated that the record label had no right to sub-license the song.
To add insult to injury, “Big Pimpin'” is, well, about casual sex, one night stands and, as the title makes clear, being a pimp – three things which aren’t thaaaat cool in the Arab World. Fahmy is definitely using this point to defend his case. I mean, the song’s lyrics and suggestive music video are enough to make Abdel-Halim roll in his grave.
Speaking to The Guardian, Fahmy’s lawyer stated: “They used it with a song that even by Jay Z’s own admission is very vulgar and base… That’s really why this is so significant to my client. They not only took music without paying. They’re using it in a song that is, frankly, disgusting.” Thus, the case is both of that moral and cultural infringement.
Whatever the court’s ruling ends up being, let this case be a living example of how important copyrights issues are and how plagiarism can definitely end up bringing your name, label, as well as bank account, to the ground.