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Thursday, April 18, 2024
HomeBusinessJay-Z, Timbaland, and Ginuwine triumph over copyright lawsuit in under 13 words.

Jay-Z, Timbaland, and Ginuwine triumph over copyright lawsuit in under 13 words.

A New York City judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Warner Chappell Music, Jay-Z, Timbaland, and Ginuwine over allegations of copyright infringement on the tracks “Paper Chase” and “Toe 2 Toe.” The lawsuit was brought by soul musician Ernie Hines, who claimed that the two 1990s tracks infringed on the copyright of his 1969 song “Help Me Put Out The Flame (In My Heart).” However, the judge ruled that the part of Hines’ song that was allegedly copied is not protected under copyright because it was a barely-altered version of a musical number from 1914 that is available in the public domain.

The court agreed with musical experts who stated that the introduction in Hines’ song was a commonly used accompaniment in silent movies at the time and has been dubbed “the movie villain’s theme.” Because this piece of music is in the public domain, and Hines’ intro only slightly alters it, the court ruled that this part of Hines’ work cannot be protected by copyright. The judge also agreed with the defendants’ claim that there was not enough similarity between the allegedly infringing tracks and Hines’ song to support a copyright infringement claim.

“Paper Chase” was released in 1998 and appeared on Jay-Z’s album “Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life,” while “Toe 2 Toe” was released in 1999 and appeared on Ginuwine’s album “100% Ginuwine.” Hines originally filed the lawsuit in 2019, seeking at least $2 million in compensation for the alleged infringement. The original lawsuit was dismissed in 2020 for failure to state a claim, but Hines filed an amended complaint naming Warner Chappell Music, Jay-Z, Timbaland, and Ginuwine as defendants. BMG Rights Management LLC, which was also named as a defendant, settled the claim separately in 2022.

In the latest ruling, the judge granted a summary judgment to the defendants and denied Hines’ request to extend the time allotted for discovery. The parties had one year to complete fact discovery, and the new material Hines sought through discovery was deemed not proportional to the needs of the case.

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