Egyp­tian com­poser heir takes on Jay Z in ‘Big Pimpin’ trial

The China Post - - ARTS -

The heir of an Egyp­tian com­poser will take on Jay Z in U.S. court, say­ing the rap­per had no right to use a flute sam­ple in hip-hop clas­sic “Big Pimpin.’”

Court doc­u­ments this week set Oct. 13 for a jury trial in Los An­ge­les against the rap mogul, the latest twist in a long-run­ning copy­right saga over the 1999 song which ex­tols the “pimpin’” life of ca­sual sex.

The track opens with a Mid­dle Eastern-sound­ing flute as Jay Z de­clares, “It’s big pimpin’, baby,” and the sam­ple du­els with the beat through­out the song.

The flute sam­ple turned out to be com­posed in 1957 by Ba­ligh Hamdy for the Egyp­tian movie “Khosara, Khosara.”

“Big Pimpin’” pro­ducer Tim­bal- and has said he found the Egyp­tian song with­out any iden­ti­fi­ca­tion on a CD and that he be­lieved it was in the public do­main.

Jay Z’s side quickly tried to defuse the con­tro­versy when, in 2001, it paid US$100,000 to the la­bel EMI Ara­bia, which said it had rights over “Khosara, Khosara.” The la­bel shared the pay­out with de­scen­dants of Hamdy, who died in 1993.

But the com­poser’s nephew and heir Osama Ahmed Fahmy filed a law­suit in U.S. court in 2007 say­ing that the deal was ir­rel­e­vant un­der Egyp­tian law.

“Khosara, Khosara” is “cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant” in Egypt and lo­cal law at the time gave no “blan­ket li­cense to make de­riv­a­tive works that al­ter or add to the copy­right,” the law­suit said.

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