Beyonce Wins ‘Baby Boy’ Court Battle

United States District Court in Houston dismissed a copyright infringement case brought against Beyonce and the co-authors of the Grammy(R) Award-winning, number one hit song “Baby Boy.” Judge Nancy Atlas ruled that Beyonce and the other defendants named in case did not infringe the copyright in the plaintiff’s song. In response to the court’s decision, Beyonce said, “It’s unfortunate that lawsuits such as this one occur, but I am grateful and relieved to have this behind me and I am eager to move on.” “Baby Boy” was written and produced by Beyonce, Sean Paul, Scott Storch, Robert Waller and Jay-Z. A Minneapolis singer-songwriter named Jennifer Armour asserted in a lawsuit filed in July 2005 that her former manager, Marc McKinney p/k/a Theo Forrest, submitted demo recordings of her song “Got a Little Bit of Love for You” to Mathew Knowles (President, Music World Entertainment), representatives of Beyonce’s record label Columbia Records, a division of SONY BMG Music Entertainment, and Sean Paul’s label Atlantic Recording Corporation in early March 2003. She soon discovered in the litigation, however, that the writing and recording of “Baby Boy” was substantially complete by February 10, 2003, approximately one month before Armour alleged that her demo was submitted. The basis of the court’s decision, however, was not the fact that “Baby Boy” was in existence before the date on which the plaintiff’s demos were allegedly submitted to various people and entities affiliated with the “Baby Boy” songwriters. Beyonce’s attorney filed a motion for summary judgment in which he asked the court to make a side-by-side comparison of the plaintiff’s song and “Baby Boy.” One of the key questions in a copyright infringement case is whether two songs are “substantially similar” to one another. The court made the requested side-by-side comparison and determined that no reasonable person could conclude that “Baby Boy” is “substantially similar” to the plaintiff’s song. In fact, the court wrote that the two songs are “substantially dissimilar” from one another. Defendants named in the lawsuit included Beyonce, Jay-Z, Scott Storch, Robert Waller, SONY BMG Music Entertainment, Hitco Music Publishing, TVT Music, and Notting Dale Songs, all of whom were represented by Henry (“Hank”) J. Fasthoff, IV of Stumpf Craddock Massey Farrimond; and Sean Paul, Atlantic Recording Corporation, EMI Music Publishing, EMI April Music, VP Music Group, and Dutty Rock Music who were represented by Roland Garcia and Rachel Sims of Greenberg Traurig.


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