Tracy Chapman wins $450K in copyright suit against Nicki Minaj

Singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman has won her case against American rapper Nicki Minaj after the former claimed that the latter took her work without permission.

The documents filed in California’s federal Central District Court on Thursday, states that Chapman has accepted Minaj’s $450k offer to avoid trial.

Chapman filed her lawsuit in October 2018, as she said that Minaj’s song “Sorry,” which she collaborated with Nas, lyrics and vocal melody from one of Chapman’s songs, “Baby Can I Hold You,” which was released in 1998.

According to reports, Minaj’s team sent a formal request in July 2018 to use Chapman’s song, noting that Minaj intended to “interpolate” Chapman’s work which includes re-recording the melody and lyrics of the song, rather than sample Chapman’s existing recording.

However, Chapman’s representatives turned down the request days later but Chapman believes that Minaj had already recorded “Sorry” before the clearance request was made.

Chapman said in her original filing that Minaj’s representatives were already aware that Chapman would probably be loathe to agree to the arrangement even before they sent the formal request.

The music clearance company weeks before then, called DMG sent Chapman’s representatives an exploratory note, allegedly saying that an A list artist wanted to use “Baby Can I Hold You,” while asking if Chapman remained on an unofficial “do not sample or interpolate” list.

The song “Sorry” was not included on Minaj’s album, Queen, which was released less than a month after her formal request to use the Chapman material.

However, Minaj’s song leaked anyway and was played on HOT 97 radio in New York via DJ Funkmaster Flex and online.

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