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Tracy Chapman accepts $450,000 settlement from Nicki Minaj, thereby ending the copyright infringement battle

The two artists almost went for a trial scheduled later this year

Tracy Chapman has accepted a settlement of $450,000 from Nicki Minaj, who sampled her song without permission, and the heated copyright infringement battle has drawn to an end.

The offer was accepted and made public by California federal court on Thursday, January 7, meaning the two platinum-selling artists will not be having to go for the trial scheduled later this year.

Where it began

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The case had been ongoing for more than 2 years, with Chapman suing Minaj in October 2018 for using a sample of her 1988 single “Baby Can I Hold You” on an unreleased track named “Sorry.” Chapman, a Grammy winner, had denied numerous times to the requests to add her lyrics and vocal melody for the song that was going to be included in Minaj’d fourth album “Queen.”

Minaj collaborated with Nas for “Sorry”, but it didn’t make the final cut for the album. Even then the lawsuit remained because it alleged that Minaj handed the song over to New York radio DJ Funkmaster Flex, who later premiered it on his station, Hot 97 and also posted it on his various social media accounts.

At that time, Minaj claimed that her use of “Baby Can I Hold You” as the foundation of “Sorry” fell under “fair use”, despite not getting the permission from Chapman. Her argument was supported by Judge Virginia A. Phillips of the United States District Court in Los Angeles. This was refuted by Chapman’s legal team who then made the allegation that Minaj made the song public by handing it off to Funkmaster Flex.

The settlement papers were offered by Minaj’s lawyers on December 17 and was accepted by Chapman’s lawyers on December 30.

 

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Rakesh Pillai

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