Copyright law is serious business, and Nicki Minaj is experiencing the repercussions of it first hand. The rapper is set to fork over $450,000 to singer Tracy Chapman regarding copyright infringement claims over "Sorry," a derivative of Chapman's "Baby Can I Hold You."
California court documents became public on January 7, citing that Chapman accepted Minaj's offer of judgment, and that the case would not proceed to trial.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, the "Talkin' Bout A Revolution" singer filed the case back in October 2018, a few months after Minaj had released her album, Queen. "Sorry," a collaboration with the rapper Nas, never made it on the album, but it did find itself in the hands of popular radio DJ Funkmaster Flex, and as these things do, then made its way to the internet.
Minaj's team attempted to clear Chapman's sample regardless of her well-known status as artist who never allows samples of her work. Although Minaj will be paying the hefty fine, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips ruled that Minaj had a fair use right to utilize the song in the studio for musical experimentation.
"A ruling uprooting these common practices would limit creativity and stifle innovation within the music industry," noted court documents.