In a recent legal battle, rapper Jay-Z, producer Timbaland, and R&B singer Ginuwine emerged victorious against soul singer Ernie Hines’ claims of copyright infringement. Hines had alleged that HOV and Ginuwine used samples from his 1960 song in their respective tracks.
On Monday, September 25, Jay-Z, Timbaland, and Ginuwine emerged victorious in a legal battle over copyright infringement. The trio successfully defended themselves against a lawsuit filed by soul singer Ernie Hines, who claimed that Jay-Z had sampled his 1960 song, “Help Me Put Out The Fire,” on Jay’s 1990 track “Paper Chase” featuring Foxy Brown.
In addition, Hines also accused Ginuwine’s 1999 song “Toe 2 Toe” of sampling his work.
However, U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken dismissed Hines’ claims, ruling that Jay-Z’s “Paper Chase” and Ginuwine’s “Toe 2 Toe,” both co-written and produced by Timbaland, did not infringe on Hines’ rights. The introduction of “Help Me Put Out The Fire” formed the basis of Hines’ lawsuit, alleging that the two songs copied its distinctive sound.
The defense argued that the introduction was not eligible for copyright protection, as it originated from a stock musical phrase in a song from 1914 called “Mysterioso Pizzicato.” This musical phrase has been used in 28 different songs and became widely known as the “villain theme song” in films.
This win adds to Jay-Z’s recent legal victories, as he recently resolved a dispute with alcohol brand Bacardi. The settlement resulted in Bacardi owning 75 percent of the hip-hop mogul’s D’usse brand.
In a music industry riddled with legal troubles, it seems other hip-hop artists have constantly faced copyright infringement lawsuits. Nicki Minaj was recently sued for copyright infringement over her 2014 song “I Lied” from her Pinkprint album.