Jay Z's "Big Pimpin" has been the center of a lawsuit filed in 2007. The suit was filed by the nephew of late composer Baligh Hamdy, whose song "Khosara Khosara" was prominently sampled in "Big Pimpin." It initial case focused on claims that Jay mutilated the original song, violated moral rights, and violated copyright claims.
At this point, the courts are looking into time periods before, during, and after a licensing agreement made by EMI and Sout El Phan. In the latest ruling, the judge found that possible infringement before the agreement cannot be contested by Hamdy's nephew, Osama Ahmed Fahmy, because the statue of limitations had expired. The judge also ruled that during the agreement, it protected Jay and the other defendants named in the suit (including Timbaland, Mike Shinoda, EMI, and MTV) from copyright infringement claims. As far as the defendants knew, the agreement meant that they were not infringing anybody's rights.
However, for the period of time after EMI's agreement with Sout El Phan had expired, the judge ruled that the plaintiff had a valid case and recommended that he go through an additional discovery period. The objective of the discovery period will be to identify whether or not the defendants knew they were violating copyright law when the agreement expired. According to the judge, if the defendants knew that they were committing infringement by continuing to utilize the song in movies and commercials after the agreement, they were liable for copyright infringement.
The discovery period will end March 2014, at which point there will be a new date and ruling. The newest decision in the case can be read in full here. In a moment of complete honesty, the Judge wrote in his decision: "The facts of this case are complex."
[via Hollywood Reporter]