Jay-Z, Timbaland, Ginuwine defeat soul musician's copyright lawsuit

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Jay-Z speaks after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. October 30, 2021. REUTERS/Gaelen Morse/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

Sept 25 (Reuters) - Rapper Jay-Z, producer Timbaland and R&B singer Ginuwine convinced a Manhattan federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit from soul musician Ernie Hines, who alleged that they unlawfully sampled one of his songs from 1969.

U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken on Monday said that Jay-Z's "Paper Chase" and Ginuwine's "Toe 2 Toe," both co-written and produced by Timbaland in the late 1990s, did not violate Hines' rights in his song "Help Me Put Out The Flame (In My Heart)".

Hines' attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the decision. A representative for Warner Music (WMG.O), which is a defendant in the case, declined to comment.

Hines first sued over the songs in 2019, arguing they copied part of the introduction to his song. The defendants said the part was not copyright eligible because it was taken from a "stock" musical phrase in a 1914 work, "Mysterioso Pizzicato", that has been used in at least 28 other songs and become synonymous with movie villains.

Oetken agreed that Hines' song "borrows from a heavily used work that is in the public domain" and "adds only material that is not original enough to be copyrightable."

Oetken also said the relevant parts of Jay-Z and Ginuwine's songs were not similar enough for Hines to show infringement even if his introduction had been copyrightable.

Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington; Editing by Sonali Paul

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Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, for Reuters Legal. He has previously written for Bloomberg Law and Thomson Reuters Practical Law and practiced as an attorney. Contact: 12029385713