Jay Z and Timbaland set to testify in Big Pimpin' lawsuit

Duo likely to appear in court to respond to accusations that their sample of the Egyptian song Khosara Khosara was illegal

Following the star appearances in the Blurred Lines case – in which Robin Thicke managed to show the world that he didn’t write the song, but just took the writing credit for it – two more music superstars will be hoping a court appearance doesn’t go horribly wrong.

Jay Z and Timbaland are expected to testify in a lawsuit brought by the descendants of an Egyptian composer over a sample used in the 1999 hit Big Pimpin’. The case goes to court in California on 13 October.

Osama Fahmy, the nephew of the late Baligh Hamdi, is suing the pair over the flute sample in the track, which came from the 1960 song Khosara Khosara, written by Hamdi for the film Fata Ahlami. The suit was filed in 2007, and Fahmy’s lawyer, Keith Wesley, told the New York Post: “I haven’t seen a case last this long. I don’t think there’s a single answer — complex litigation can last for years, but this has been unusual.”

Timbaland, who produced Big Pimpin’, had initially believed the sample was in the public domain. He then paid $100,000 to EMI Music Arabia, which claimed to have the rights to the sample, for its usage. Fahmy, however, says EMI did not have the right to license the sample.

Fahmy also argues that using it in a song of Big Pimpin’s nature was a violation of Hamdi’s moral rights under Egyptian law. “They used it with a song that, even by Jay Z’s own admission, is very vulgar and base,” Wesley told the Guardian earlier this year. “That’s really why this is so significant to my client. They not only took music without paying. They’re using it in a song that is, frankly, disgusting.”

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