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Jay-Z and Timbaland have been cleared over Big Pimpin’ copyright violation, a judge ruled on October 21.

The rapper was accused of not getting permission to use a flute sample from a track written by an Egyptian composer called Baligh Hamdi in 1957.

Baligh Hamdi’s nephew and heir, Osama Ahmed Fahmy, claimed they didn’t ask to combine his uncle’s song with the lyrics of Big Pimpin’, released in 1999.

Timbaland, real name Timothy Mosley, testified that in 2011 he paid $100,000 to EMI Arabia.

The music company said they owned the rights to the song Khosara Khosara, which Timabland and Jay-Z sampled.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Both Jay-Z and Timbaland said they believed they had a valid license to sample the flute notes.

Osama Ahmed Fahmy said this deal was irrelevant and consent to change the track should have been requested.

However, Los Angeles district judge Christina Snyder dismissed the lawsuit before it went to a jury.

The flute is used throughout Big Pimpin’ that became the first major hit single for Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter.

“My client is pleased and gratified by the decision,” Jay-Z’s lawyer Andrew Bart said.

The lawyer for Osama Ahmed Fahmy, Keith Wesley, said: “We strongly disagree with the ruling and we fully intend to appeal.”

The case has taken years to get to court, with Baligh Hamdi’s nephew first filing a legal complaint in 2007.


Rapper Jay-Z has told a Los Angeles jury he was not aware there was a sample of Egyptian songwriter Baligh Hamdi’s 1957 song Khosara Khosara on his 1999 hit Big Pimpin’.

Jay-Z, real name Shawn Carter, and producer Timbaland are accused of using the melody from the song without permission.

The rapper testified for roughly 90 minutes in court on October 14.

“I didn’t think there was a sample in it,” Jay-Z said.

“Timbaland presented me with a track. I didn’t even think about there being a sample,” he continued.

Jay-Z’ss lawyers told the court Baligh Hamdi’s family had repeatedly been paid for use of the song.

Four notes from Khosara Khosara‘s 74 notes are repeated throughout Big Pimpin’, a music expert has testified.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Asked why he did not thoroughly check out the rights to the track, Jay-Z replied: “That’s not what I do. I make music.

“I’m a rapper, I’ve got a clothing line, I run a label, a media label called Roc Nation, with a sports agency, music publishing and management. Restaurants and nightclubs … I think that about covers it.”

The rapper said he had a team of hundreds of people who dealt with his contracts and licensing.

Timbaland – real name Timothy Mosley – later told the court he had found Khosara Khosara on a CD of Arabic music labeled “license free”.

“I’m thinking it’s free music, free songs, and I sampled it,” he said.

Baligh Hamdi’s nephew, Osama Ahmed Fahmy, first filed a legal complaint in 2007, claiming the musicians had purposefully avoided asking permission because of Big Pimpin’s lyrics.

His lawyer, Peter Ross, has already told the court Jay-Z and Timbaland had infringed Baligh Hamdi’s “moral rights” – a legal concept he claimed was well-established in Egypt which would have required the musicians to get permission to use elements of Khosara Khosara in a song celebrating a promiscuous lifestyle.