In 2007, Osama Ahmed Fahmy filed the suit, which goes to trial October 13. He claims that the rapper and producer illegally used a sample of his late uncle’s song, “Khosara Khosara,” in “Big Pimpin’.” Jay Z and Timbaland will testify in court.
Jay Z’s lawyer, Andrew Bart, says that his client’s financial status is irrelevant to the case and would bias the jury. Forbes reported earlier this year that the rapper is worth $550 million.
“There is no conceivable reason that Defendants’ wealth or financial resources would make it more or less likely that they infringed Plaintiff’s supposed copyright in Khosara,” the court documents say. “Nor is it relevant to Plaintiff’s claim for lost profits; indeed, the Ninth Circuit has squarely held that courts may not determine the amount of lost profits by looking to a defendant’s ‘overall gross revenue, without regard to the infringement.”
Fahmy and his representatives say that Jay Z’s wealth is key to the context of the case.
“For example, compare two hypothetical infringers of a plaintiff’s copyright in a film,” they wrote. “One is a peasant living in a remote area of Russia. The other is a billion-dollar film studio. A reasonable juror may find that, because of the peasant’s ‘financial condition,’ the limited steps he took to ensure he was not infringing were reasonable, whereas the same steps taken by the film studio were consistent with a finding of recklessness or willful blindness. The infringers’ respective ‘financial conditions’ would be highly relevant to whether they exercised due care in ensuring they were not infringing upon the plaintiff’s copyright.”
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