Jay-Z ‘Big Pimpin” Lawsuit Can Proceed, Judge Rules

Late Egyptian composer's heir is suing the rap mogul over a sample he included in his 2000 hit.

“Big Pimpin’ ” was a smash hit for Jay-Z in 2000, but in 2011 it’s causing him some big legal headaches. The Hollywood Reporter revealed first that on Tuesday, California federal judge Christina Snyder ruled that plaintiff Osama Ahmed Fahmy has a right to pursue a lawsuit that names Jay-Z, EMI Publishing, MTV Networks, UMG Recordings, Warner Music and various other entities as defendants.

Although Jay-Z cleared the sample used in “Big Pimpin’,” which features Texas rap legends UGK, the copyright lawsuit claims that, according to Egyptian law, the song violates the “moral rights” of it original composer.

The Timbaland-produced “Big Pimpin’,” from Jay-Z’s Vol. 3 … The Life & Times of S. Carter album, samples “Khosara, Khosara,” which was composed by Baligh Hamdy for the 1960 Egyptian film Fata Ahlami. Hamdy died in 1993, and the copyright to the song was passed down to his four children, with Fahmy being the nephew of one of these heirs. The lawsuit contends that only an unaltered version of “Khosara, Khosara” could be legally licensed, while Jay-Z’s tune used a sampled loop of the original song for its instrumental track. Since an altered version was utilized, the plaintiff contends, citing Egyptian “moral rights” legislation, that Jay-Z needed to seek permission from all of Hamdy’s children for its use.

Fahmy first filed his lawsuit in 2007, the same year a similar case brought against Timbaland was dismissed. No information on how much financial compensation Fahmy is seeking was available at press time. A representative for Jay-Z declined to comment on this ongoing legal matter.