Complaining Work

Defending Work

Baligh Hamdi

“Khosara, Khosara”

Audio clip

Jay Z, et al.

“Big Pimpin'”

Audio clip


Comment by Charles Cronin


The plaintiff, Osama Fahmy, 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 Fahmy had no standing to sue, and District Court Judge Christine Snyder granted the defendants’ motion for judgment as a matter of law.

Fahmy 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 Fahmy’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.

Indeed, affirming the District Court’s opinion, the 9th Circuit determined that even if Fahmy could legitimately claim moral rights under Egyptian law he would have to have compensated Defendant for encumbering the economic right to exploit the Plaintiff’s work, for which Defendant had already paid. Here is a link to an audio/video recording of the oral arguments at the 9th Circuit.


District Court Opinion by Judge Cristina Snyder: PDF

Ninth Circuit Opinion by Judge Bea: PDF