Nicki Minaj Scores Victory In Copyright Case

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A judge ruled Wednesday that Nicki Minaj did not commit copyright infringement when she created “Sorry” based on Tracy Chapman’s 1988 “Baby Can I Hold You.”

U.S. district judge Virginia A. Phillips said Minaj’s use of the song prior to seeking permission from Chapman constitutes “fair use.”

“Artists usually experiment with works before seeking licenses from rights holders and rights holders typically ask to see a proposed work before approving a license,” Phillips wrote in her decision. “A ruling uprooting these common practices would limit creativity and stifle innovation within the music industry.”

“Sorry,” created in 2017 by Minaj and Nasir Bin Olu, used lyrics and melody from “Baby Can I Hold You.” When Chapman refused repeated requests from Minaj’s reps for permission to use her song, “Sorry” was dropped from Minaj’s album Queen.

The track was leaked to a New York radio DJ in August 2018 and found its way online, prompting Chapman to file a lawsuit against Minaj.

The judge said whether Minaj infringed on Chapman’s copyright by distributing “Sorry” is a question for a jury.

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