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Jay-Z, Timbaland Sued for $5 Million Over “Big Pimpin'” Sample

Jay-Z and Timbaland are being sued for $5 million for a sample illegally used on Hov’s 2000 hit single, “Big Pimpin’,” according to a lawsuit. Ahab Joseph Nafal filed the suit on July 23  in the United States District Court, Central District of California.

According to, the legal battle stems from the use of a song titled “Khosara, Khosara,”originally by composer Baligh Hamdy, on the Timbo-produced track off Jay’s Vol. 3 … The Life & Times of S. Carter album. The legal action re-emerged now because lawyers are arguing the track, created in 1957, is governed by a 1909 Copyright Act and not  a 1976 Copyright Act. So, although the original lawsuit was dismissed in 2007 after Nafal failed to join all individuals with rights to the composition in the lawsuit, as the 1909 Act mandates, a federal judge ruled in May of this  year that the children of Hamdy, who died in 1993, are allowed to continue the lawsuit.

The reason for the pursuit is that it was ruled in a court of law that Jay-Z and Timbaland only obtained “economic rights” for the song, not the proper sample clearance from representatives of Baligh Hamdy, as they had claimed in the earlier lawsuit. Thus, Hamdy’s other children never granted permission to use the sample.

The amended lawsuit re-asserts claims that the pair failed to receive proper sample clearances or pay the proper royalties on the tune. Also named in the suit are Roc-A-Fella Records, Def Jam Records, Warner Music Group and rock act Linkin Park (over a remixed version from their collaborative LP with Jay-Z, Collision Course).—Mariel Concepcion

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