Artist Tracy Chapman never allowed Nicki Minaj to include samples of “Baby Can I Hold You” in the song “Sorry,” which led to the rapper having to remove the track from her 2018 album Queen.
Minaj publicly stated her frustration with the decision by Chapman, who is not fond of third-party song samples on new tracks, and the issue seemed resolved. However, despite having removed the song from the album, “Sorry” became very popular among fans of the artist.
This happened because Minaj sent the song to Funkmaster Flex’s radio, Hot 97 FM, who immediately – on August 11, 2018 – used it and, after being recorded by listeners, it became a coveted file that was quickly distributed among the fans.
Chapman accuses Minaj of having violated her copyright, distributing the song to Funkmaster Flex (Aston Taylor) and requesting her to play it on her show without having obtained a license for the sample.
The lawsuit accuses Minaj of creating an “illegal derivative work and distributing that work”: “On the same day she released the album, [Minaj] followed up with Mr. Taylor to confirm that she would reproduce the infringing work on his radio show and get his number so she could text him the song.”
Chapman’s lawyers say the rights holder had to spend a lot of money monitoring and taking action through the DMCA to remove the infringing song.
Minaj defends himself by arguing that he did not make any material profit from the free distribution of “Sorry”.
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