Judge Won't Stop Jay-Z's Flow

Singer wanted single, album pulled while she proceeds with copyright case against rapper.

NEW YORK — "The flow o' the century" won't be silenced while a court hears from a singer seeking compensation for her role in Jay-Z's "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)," a judge ruled Friday.

Demme Ulloa sought a preliminary injunction to halt sales of the hit single and The Blueprint, the album that spawned it, during her copyright infringement suit against the rapper, but she was denied by Judge Barbara Jones of Manhattan's Southern District Court, a court spokesperson said.

Ulloa claims she contributed vocals to "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" without being compensated or credited (see "Jay-Z Sued For Copyright Infringement By 'Izzo' Singer").

Injunctions such as the one Ulloa sought are only granted when a judge decides that a plaintiff can't be legally satisfied or compensated while the allegedly infringing material is still on sale, according to Jay-Z's attorney.

Ulloa's lawyer, John P. Bostany, said he didn't have time to review or refute a last-minute report submitted by a musicologist, which may have been a factor in the judge's ruling.

Bostany's client continues to seek monetary damages to be determined later by the judge. A lawyer for the defense maintained that Ulloa simply provided backing vocals on the track and therefore should only receive payment comparable to other backing vocalists for hire.

The plaintiff testified that she was just visiting the studio while "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" was being recorded and heard parts of the song, which prompted her to sing a bit of the melody now being disputed. Ulloa said Jay-Z heard this and invited her to sing on the track.

Ulloa's account differs from the defense's position that the melody was already in place when Ulloa was asked to record her part.

Following Ulloa's testimony, the defense asked her to write down the notes that comprise the melody, which she couldn't do completely. They then produced a keyboard and asked her to play the musical snippet, a test she also failed.

Bostany said an inability to write musical notes or play the piano doesn't necessarily negate Ulloa's claim that she came up with the melodic part.

Ulloa also asserted that her name was missing from the liner notes of The Blueprint, though Jay-Z's attorney dismissed that as an oversight that happens all the time and pointed out that Ulloa's name, though misspelled, was present on the vinyl and cassette formats of the album as well as the promotional single.

The defendants must now file an answer to the plaintiff's complaint of copyright infringement by December 7, according to a court spokesperson. After that, another hearing may be scheduled.