American artists Jay Z and Timbaland testified in a Los Angeles federal court on Wednesday, October 14 against allegations of copyright infringement of an Egyptian Song Called Khosara, Khosara (What a Shame) in their 1999 hit song Big Pimpin’.
The original song was performed by Abdel Haleem Hafez and composed by Baligh Hamdi for an Egyptian 1960’s film entitled Fata Ahlamy (Man of my Dreams).
According to Egyptian Streets, the lawsuit was filed in 2007 by Hamdi’s heir, Osama Ahmed Fahmy. He claims that the song was used without proper licensing as EMI Arabia, a Middle Eastern label company, did not have the right to sub-license it. Hamdi also expressed his disappointment at how the song was mutilated by obscene and inappropriate lyrics.
As the producer of Big Pimpin’, Timbaland claims that he paid $100,000 to EMI Arabia to buy the rights for reuse. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jay Z argued that Fahmy has been aware of the issue since 2000 so the “statute of limitations had run its course.”
The trial officially began on Tuesday, October 13 with both parties’ opening statements. It is to determine whether Jay Z and Timbaland will pay Fahmy a part of the song’s revenue or not.
Big Pimpin’ was a successful hit in 1999 reaching #18 in the US Billboard Hot 100 and #1 in the US Billboard Rythmic Top 40.
Information gathered from Egyptian Streets, The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard