Chapman’s suit alleged that Minaj did not receive her blessing to sample her song “Baby Can I Hold You” on her track “Sorry”. The suit alleged that the rapper’s song “incorporates the lyrics and vocal melody” of the “most recognizable and memorable parts” of ‘Baby’.
In addition, the suit states that Chapman’s “lyrics and vocal melody comprise approximately half” of “Sorry” and are “easily recognizable and identifiable as Chapman’s.”
The suit asked for damages and an order preventing Nicki from releasing the track.
Now, Minaj has filed her first formal response to the alleged infringement according to The Blast. In court documents from February 22, the “Queen” rap star denies the infringement, noting that she is protected with the ‘Doctrine of Fair Use’, per nme.com.
Nicki argues that Tracy “has not properly registered her claim to the copyright in the Composition” and that she “is not the owner of the copyright in issue and therefore lacks standing to bring the claims alleged in the Complaint.”
The rapper “admits that her representatives made several requests for permission to release a musical interpolation that used music and lyrics from [‘Baby Can I Hold You’],” something Chapman said she repeatedly denied.
“Sorry” was set to appear on Minaj’s recent album “Queen,” and while she ultimately decided not to include the song on the album, DJ Funkmaster Flex still played it on his show on New York’s Hot 97 station.
Charlamagne Tha God also played the track on his radio show “The Breakfast Club,” and the song is currently available online.
Minaj noted her desire to use Chapman’s music in a tweet back in July, writing: “There’s a record on ‘Queen’ that features one of the greatest rappers of all time. Had no clue it sampled the legend Tracy Chapman”.
Her suit also claims Tracy Chapman is not entitled to damages.