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First off today, Braudie Blais-Billie and Matthew Strauss at Pitchfork reports that Nicki Minaj has responded to Tracy Chapman’s lawsuit by claiming that Chapman lacks standing in the case and that, even if she does have standing, that Minaj’s use was a fair use.
The legal case is over the unreleased Minaj track Sorry, which used a sample from Chapman’s 1988 track Baby Can I Hold You. According to Chapman, Minaj repeatedly approached her for a license for the use of her song but Chapman repeatedly refused. Minaj used the song anyway and, though her song has not been officially released it, was shared by Funkmaster Flex, putting it into the public.
This prompted Chapman to file the lawsuit but Minaj has now hit back saying that Chapman has not properly registered her claim on the composition and that she is not the owner of the song. As such, they argue that she lacks standing in the case and, even if they’re wrong on that issue, the use was a fair use.
Next up today, Lucas Shaw at Bloomberg reports that Warner Music Group has filed a request for an injunction with an Indian court to block Spotify from offering its songs when the service debuts in the country.
According to Warner, Spotify has not obtained a license to use its music in India but is planning to move forward without one. Instead, Spotify is said to be relying on a local law that covers radio stations. Warner claims that this comes after Spotify backtracked on an agreement between the two that would have licensed Warner’s music in the country.
Since Warner Music Group includes the music publisher Warner/Chappell Music, this lawsuit could impact artists that are not on the Warner Music’s record label. This includes artists such as Katy Perry, who is on Universal Music but licenses her compositions through Warner/Chappell.
Finally today, Adi Robertson at The Verge reports that Epic Games is facing yet another lawsuit over a Fortnite dance routine, this one by two former University of Maryland basketball players that are accusing the company of stealing their “Running Man” dance for a Fortnite emote.
The lawsuit was filed by Jaylen Brantley and Jared Nicken who claim to have created the dance behind the “Running Man Challenge” and that their routine got them invited onto The Ellen Degeneres Show to perform the routine.
The duo join Alfonso Riberio, 2 Milly, BlocBoy JB and several others in filing similar lawsuits against Epic over emotes. However, Brantley and Nicken may have an extra challenge to their lawsuit as they didn’t actually event the Running Man Challenge. Instead, it was invented by two high school students though they are attributed with popularizing it and creating their specific version of it.