Jay-Z is believed to be fighting a lawsuit over his use of the word “oh” in a case that could have huge significance for sampling.
Court documents obtained by Techdirt suggest that the rapper is being sued for sampling a single syllable from Eddie Bo’s 1969 funk single ‘Hook and Sling’ on his 2009 track ‘Run This Town’.
According to the documents, a record label called TufAmerica claim that the “oh” is an unlicenced sample and are seeking back-royalties and damages. The label previously sued Kanye West for sampling the same song.
However, the rapper’s lawyers have said that the label cannot claim to have monopoly use on the word “oh” to stop others using it in recorded form. “Even if one short word – or the recording thereof – could possibly be deemed original enough to warrant copyright protection, this fleeting and generic phrase is neither quantitatively nor qualitatively significant,” lawyers wrote.
Whether or not it is determined whether the word “oh” is sufficient cause for a copyright claim could have a major impact on future sampling.
As The Guardian points out, Jay Z and his co-defendants WB Music Corp, Warner-Tamerlane Publishing, Roc Nation, Atlantic and Roc-A-Fella Records are awaiting judgment on their motion to dismiss the suit.