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Beyoncé asks court to dismiss $20 million ‘formation’ lawsuit
Beyoncé is seeking to dismiss a $20 million lawsuit over the “Formation” music video filed by the family of late New Orleans-area YouTube star Anthony Barré.s
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the singer’s legal team filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by Barré’s sister that claims Beyoncé used clips of his voice in her “Formation” music video without permission. The suit asks for royalties and damages, and insists that Barré be given credit for the track.
The motion to dismiss argues that Beyoncé’s use of the clips were considered “fair use” because they were less than 10 seconds. Her lawyer also argues that the family has “grossly overstated” how much the clips were being used.
“In reality, the snippets from the YouTube Videos were used only in the Music Video and, to a lesser extent, during the Live Performances,” the motion, filed by Beyoncé’s legal team, states. “As a result, all defendants without an alleged involvement in the Music Video or Live Performances should be dismissed regardless of the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims.”
Barré, who also went by the name Messy Mya, was 22 when he was shot and killed in the 7th Ward of New Orleans in 2010. Barré’s family argued that the “Formation” video stole his signature phrase, “I like that,” from his YouTube video and used his voice.
The singer’s legal team claims that using Barré’s voice is protected under the First Amendment for its “artistic relevance.”
Sampling and copyright issues are constantly at odds in the music industry, especially for hip-hop artists. Copyright laws have typically protected artists who sample based on the “fair use” protections, but their work must meet the standards of being limited and “transformative.”
Beyoncé isn’t the only artist who has fallen prey to copyright lawsuits in recent years. Ed Sheeran was sued last year for the same amount over claims he allegedly plagiarized his song “Photograph,” a contest he recently settled. Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams lost a $7.3 million lawsuit over the use of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” in the hit single “Blurred Lines.”