Jay Z asks court to keep details of his wealth out of copyright trial

Rapper is in legal dispute over his 2000 hit 'Big Pimpin''

Jay-Z is trying to stop his financial details from being revealed in court.

As Billboard reports, the rapper and producer Timbaland have been accused of copyright infringement over a sample used in the former’s 2000 hit ‘Big Pimpin’.

Osama Fahmy, nephew of late Egyptian composer Baligh Hamdi, is suing the pair for unauthorised use of his uncle’s work. The song sampled 1960 song ‘Khosara Khosara’, written by Hamdi for the film Fata Ahlami.

With the trial scheduled to start in October, both sides are currently arguing over what evidence should be heard in court.

Jay Z’s attorney, Andrew Bart, has requested that any information about the rapper’s finances is irrelevant to the case, and could potentially “bias the jury” and “artificially inflate the size of a potential damages award.”


Fahmy’s legal team, meanwhile, insists that Jay Z’s finances are relevant to the case. “For example, compare two hypothetical infringers of a plaintiff’s copyright in a film,” they argued in their written submission.

“One is a peasant living in a remote area of Russia. The other is a billion-dollar film studio. A reasonable juror may find that, because of the peasant’s ‘financial condition,’ the limited steps he took to ensure he was not infringing were reasonable, whereas the same steps taken by the film studio were consistent with a finding of recklessness or willful blindness. The infringers’ respective ‘financial conditions’ would be highly relevant to whether they exercised due care in ensuring they were not infringing upon the plaintiff’s copyright.”

Jay Z’s team has described the attempt to have his finances revealed as an “obvious ruse”, adding: “There is no conceivable reason that [Jay Z’s] wealth or financial resources would make it more or less likely that they infringed Plaintiff’s supposed copyright in Khosara.

“Nor is it relevant to Plaintiff’s claim for lost profits; indeed, the Ninth Circuit has squarely held that courts may not determine the amount of lost profits by looking to a defendant’s ‘overall gross revenue, without regard to the infringement.'”

A decision will be made by US District Judge Christina Snyder on September 16. According to Forbes’ list of music’s highest-earnest of 2014, Jay Z made $60m (£38m) last year, and earlier this year the same publication estimated his net worth at $550m (£360m).

Meanwhile, Jay Z recently launched a £485 bottle of champagne. The rapper’s Armand de Brignac champagne is aged a minimum of five years and is purely comprised of 100 percent Pinot Noir from Montagne de Reims, Chigny-les-Roses and other acclaimed villages such Bouzy, Verzy and Verzenay. Only 3,000 bottles will be produced.