Jay Z (Sean Carter) and Timbaland’s (Timothy Mosely) copyright infringement case regarding their 1999 hit “Big Pimpin” finally made it to court.
Yesterday (Oct. 14), the two testified in a federal L.A. courthouse in front of a jury about a sample in the song. Back in 2007, a man named Osama Ahmed Fahmy sued Carter and Mosely for using a sample from his uncle Baligh Hamdi’s composition “Khosara, Khosara” for Carter’s 1999 hit, “Big Pimpin” from his album, Vol. 3…Life and Times of S. Carter. “Khosara, Khosara” was used in the 1960 Egyptian film Fata ahlami.
According to Billboard, Carter showed a copy of his album Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter to the jury to show the liner notes stating they gave credit to the original song “Khosara Khosara.” The Roc Nation CEO explained to the court that he was under the impression the right to use the sample were already properly negotiated.
"I didn’t think there was a sample in it," Jay Z to the court. "Timbaland presented me with a track. I didn’t even think about there being a sample," he continued, noting Timbaland is known for rarely sampling.
When asked why he didn't think to check, the rapper replied: "That’s not what I do. I make music… There’s a team of hundreds of people [clearing samples] is their job. That’s not my job."
Carter and Mosley’s lawyer Christine Lepera told the jury that Hamdi's family has already been paid. Lepera told jurors that the producer found the track/sample on a license-free CD thinking it was royalty-free, but when he found out it wasn’t Timbo paid the Hamdi Family $100,000 to EMI Music Arabia, who claimed rights to the sample.
Carter explained his point of view about how the song came together, saying he was about to leaving a meeting when Mosley played him the "Khosara Khosara" sample, to which he wrote to in the hours that followed. “There wasn't anything like it on the radio at the time,” Carter explained.
Photo: Jay Z leaves federal courthouse in L.A. on October 14/MARIO ANZUON, Reuters