In the article “Court Finds Plaintiff Has No Standing to Bring Copyright Claim For Big Pimpin’” published by LACBA’s Entertainment Law and Intellectual Property Journal, senior associate David Jang summarizes the now-dismissed copyright infringement matter involving rapper Jay-Z’s hit song, “Big Pimpin’.”
In 2007, Osa`ma Ahmed Fahmy, heir of famous Egyptian composer Baligh Hamdi who co-authored the song “Khosara, Khosara,” filed suit against Jay-Z and others, claiming Jay-Z infringed Fahmy’s copyright interests in “Khosara” by singing rap lyrics over the melody of “Khosara.” Fahmy had transferred certain rights in “Khosara” to Mohsen Mohammed Jaber, owner of a music library. However, Fahmy contended that the transferred rights did not include the moral right to make derivative works using “Khosara” because such a right is inalienable under Egyptian law.
“The court found that while moral rights under Egyptian law are inalienable and may be asserted to prevent modifications to a work, such rights are not enforceable in a U.S. court. As a result, if an artist’s moral rights are violated under Egyptian law, he must seek a remedy in the nature of an injunction in an Egyptian court,” David said. The court thus found that “Fahmy lacked standing to bring the suit because he had transferred all his economic rights in Khosara to Jaber.”
Fahmy has appealed the court’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court.
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