Jay Z, et al.
Comment by Charles Cronin
The plaintiff, Osama Famey, is the nephew of the author of the Arabic song at issue in this dispute. The court determined, however, that Fahmy's uncle had assigned his copyright in the song to EMI which, in turn, legitimately licensed use of the song to Jay Z. Accordingly Famey had no standing to sue, and the judge granted the defendants’ motion for judgment as a matter of law.
Famey also claimed that the cheap vulgarity of the lyrics of Jay Z’s song that incorporated snippets of sound from his uncle’s work violated the moral rights in this work which purportedly extended beyond his uncle’s life. Even if Famey’s claim had not been dismissed for lack of standing, a US court would likely give short shrift to an assertion of a moral right under Egyptian copyright law that is expressly excluded under the US Copyright statute.
Opinion by Judge Cristina Snyder: PDF
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