Tracy Chapman has won her lawsuit against Nicki Minaj, who must pay her $450,000 (Sh49.4million), it's claimed. Chapman accepted Minaj's offer of judgment on Thursday, according to documents seen by the Hollywood Reporter, which means the case will not go to trial next year.
As well as the settlement, Chapman also avoids being responsible for costs had a jury eventually decided her claims weren't worth that amount. Back in 2018, Chapman sued Minaj for copyright infringement, as the rapper "borrowed" large parts of Tracy’s 1988 hit, Baby Can I Hold You, for her own song, Sorry.
Prior to the legal case, Nicki repeatedly reached out to obtain rights from the soul singer to sample one of her biggest hit singles - but without success. Despite choosing not to include it on her album, the song got leaked and was played on Funkmaster Flex's Hot 97 radio show.
Nicki said she "had no clue" the song contained a sample and once she found out, sent out various tweets to Tracy urging her to get in contact. In the ruling U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips reportedly said that Nicki had a fair use right to use the song in the studio for musical experimentation.
The judge allegedly said: "A ruling uprooting these common practices would limit creativity and stifle innovation within the music industry."
Chapman reportedly said of the ruling: "I am glad to have this matter resolved and grateful for this legal outcome which affirms that artists' rights are protected by law and should be respected by other artists.
"I was asked in this situation numerous times for permission to use my song; in each instance, politely and in a timely manner, I unequivocally said no. Apparently Ms. Minaj chose not to hear and used my composition despite my clear and express intentions."
She said: "This lawsuit was a last report — pursued in an effort to defend myself and my work and to seek protection for the creative enterprise and expression of songwriters and independent publishers like myself."