Copyright lawsuit against Jay Z’s ‘Run This Town’ dismissed by US judge

It was claimed rapper infringed copyright laws by using word 'oh'

A lawsuit claiming that Jay Z violated copyright by sampling a single syllable on his 2009 hit song with Rihanna, ‘Run This Town’, has been dismissed by a US judge.

New York federal judge Lewis Kaplan threw out record label TufAmerica’s claim that Jay Z and his record company sampled an “oh” from an older recording by Eddie Bo entitled ‘Hook & Sling Part 1’.

According to Billboard, the judge said that the word is widely used and therefore not deserving of copyright protection. “The word ‘oh’ is a single and commonplace word. Standing alone, it likely is not deserving of copyright protection… As this motion may be resolved on other grounds, however, the Court need not decide whether the word ‘oh,’ as it appears in the Composition, is protectable,” he wrote.


The judge added that though a single syllable can fall under infringement laws, Jay Z’s song is not substantially similar to the prior song, reducing the significance of the “oh”.

“Were the Court to find ‘oh’ quantitatively significant to ‘Hook & Sling Part I’ or to Eddie Bo’s performance thereof, it in effect would read the quantitative significance element out of the substantial similarity test. This the Court will not do,” he wrote.

“The fact of the matter is that the samples appear only faintly in the background of ‘Run This Town’ and are, at best, only barely perceptible to the average listener.”

The ruling marks a successful week for Jay Z in the courts. Earlier in the week, a magistrate decided that the rapper wouldn’t be forced to give a deposition in a legal battle over whether he stole the logo for his record label.

The ‘Watch The Throne’ musician also made headlines yesterday when he and his wife BeyoncĂ© met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a basketball game in New York.