Beyonce Is Facing A $20-Million Lawsuit For Copyright Claim

By Dante Noe Raquel II , Feb 09, 2017 01:25 PM EST

Former "Destiny's Child" Beyoncé is hauled up in a $20-million copyright claim centering on a sampling in her song and video "Formation." The estate of Anthony Barré, a departed New Orleans rapper also known as Messy Mya, brought the lawsuit against Beyoncé and Sony Music on Monday, February 6.

Beyoncé Used Rapper Messy Mya Vocal Without Permission

Filed at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, the so-called claim, Beyoncé used statements made by Barré in his YouTube videos. In 2010, Barré created and published the song "Booking the Hoes from New Wildings", which featured the phrase "what happened at the New Orleans."

As per the claim, this phrase was stolen and infringed in "Formation". The rapper also created the song "A 27 Piece Huh?" in New Orleans in 2010. It featured Barré saying "oh yeah baby. I like that", another phrase apparently used by Beyoncé.

If the phrases had been licensed, not only would "Formation", the album "Lemonade" and the "Formation World Tour" have generated substantial revenues, but the licensing would have enabled universal recognition for Barré's works and as a funder to worldwide hit song, said the suit.

"Formation" was released in 2016 and forms part of Beyoncé's latest album "Lemonade". The "Formation" video and song allegedly begin with the voice of Barré saying "what happened at the New Orleans" and "bitch I'm back, by popular demand". It also includes Barré saying "oh yeah baby".

The Legal Action Is Being Brought By Barre's Estate

In October, last year, adviser for Barré's estate informed the defendants of the unlawful copying but, as per the suit, they have not offered to enter a licensing arrangement or pay to recompensate for their use of the phrases in their song.The estate is requesting damages, including profits which are believed to exceed $20 million. It is also seeking a jury trial, injunctive relief, royalties on all future misuses of Barré's works, and triple the costs.

The Recording Industry Association of America certified "Formation" as "gold" in September last year because of U.S. sales of more than 500,000 digital copies. Could it be wrong for Beyonce using Barre's work? 

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