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Tracy Chapman wins $450K settlement in copyright infringement lawsuit against Nicki Minaj

American-Trinidadian Rapper, Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty, known by her stage name Nicki Minaj, will be paying Songstress Tracy Chapman $450,000 for using her work without permission.

Back in October 2018, Chapman had sued Minaj over the use of her 1988 song “Baby Can I Hold You” in the rapper’s leaked 2018 track “Sorry”which is an illegal derivative of Chapman’s “Baby Can I Hold You.”

According to court documents filed in a California federal court last Thursday, Chapman and her team have accepted a $450,000 offer of judgment that Minaj lawyers agreed to pay on December 17. The settlement includes all Chapman’s costs and attorney fees related to the case which will no longer go to trial.

Minaj’s song which she recorded with Rapper Nas was never released but apparently was leaked and was heard on the New York radio station Hot 97.

Court documents revealed that Minaj and her team sought a license to use Chapman’s song. However, permission was never granted by Chapman even though Minaj’s song was allegedly produced before seeking permission and was eventually leaked. Chapman is on a “do not sample list” among several artists who are well-known for not allowing samples of their works.

The settlement is a victory for the protection of songwriter’s work. It sends a clear message that copyright infringement is frown upon and other artists work should be protected.

“I am glad to have this matter resolved and grateful for this legal outcome which affirms that artists’ rights are protected by law and should be respected by other artists,” said Chapman about the outcome of the case, adding that, “I was asked in this situation numerous times for permission to use my song; in each instance, politely and in a timely manner, I unequivocally said no. Apparently Ms. Minaj chose not to hear and used my composition despite my clear and express intentions.”

Chapman said that, “This lawsuit was a last report pursued in an effort to defend myself and my work and to seek protection for the creative enterprise and expression of songwriters and independent publishers like myself.”

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