Tracy Chapman sues Nicki Minaj for copyright infringement

Tracy Chapman has filed a copyright infringement suit against Nicki Minaj, accusing her of lifting the lyrics and melody from the 1988 song “Baby Can I Hold You.”

According to the suit, Minaj sought permission over the summer to sample the song in a track entitled “Sorry,” which was to appear on Minaj’s album “Queen.” Chapman has a blanket policy against allowing her work to be sampled, and she refused the request, through her representatives.

Minaj dropped the track from the album, but according to the suit, she provided it to two New York City radio stations, which played it on air in August. Chapman alleges that the song played on Hot 97, and that portions of it appeared on “The Breakfast Club,” on Power 105.1. The song is now available online, including on YouTube.

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Tracy Chapman through the years
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Tracy Chapman through the years
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 01: Singers Tracy Chapman performs at the Amnesty International benefit concert at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 02: American singer Tracy Chapman performs at the 'Human Rights Now!' concert, in aid of Amnesty International, held at Wembley Stadium on September 2, 1988 in London, England. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
Tracy Chapman performing at the Oakland Colusium in Oakland, Calif. Sept. 1989 Aids Benefit Image By: Tim Mosenfelder/ImageDirect
Musician Tracy Chapman attends the party for 31st Annual Grammy Awards on February 22, 1989 at Chasen's Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 17: Tracy Chapman (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Tracy Chapman performing at the Bill Graham Memorial Concert in San Francisco, California on Nov. 3rd 1991. Golden Gate Park Polo Fields. Image By: Tim Mosenfelder/ImageDirect
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 20: Tracy Chapman performs in concert at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 961 -- Pictured: (l-r) Musical guest Tracy Chapman during an interview with host Jay Leno on July 16, 1996 -- (Photo by: Margaret C. Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Musician Tracy Chapman attends 28th Annual NAACP Image Awards on February 9, 1997 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Tracy Chapman at Tibet Freedom Concert in Chicago on June 13, 1999 (Photo Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) 20.03.1964-Sängerin, USAbei der MusikTriennale in Köln (Photo by Brill/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Singer Tracy Chapman Attends a Promotional Photoshoot for her New Album 'Let It Rain' at Santo Mauro Hotel in Central Madrid (Photo by Lalo Yasky/WireImage)
Tracy Chapman and Woody Harrelson backstage at 'We The Planet.' (Photo by J. Shearer/WireImage)
(GERMANY OUT) Tracy Chapman - Saengerin, Musikerin, Folk, Rockmusik - USA - Konzert im Tempodrom, Berlin (Photo by Engelke/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Carhaix-Plouguer, FRANCE: US singer Tracy Chapman performs during the 15th edition of the Vieilles Charrues Music Festival, 23 July 2006 in Carhaix-Plouguer, western France. AFP PHOTO ANDRE DURAND (Photo credit should read ANDRE DURAND/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON - DECEMBER 15: Tracy Chapman performs at the Hammersmith Apollo on December 15, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 20: Tracy Chapman arrives at the 20th Anniversary Ceremony of the 'Green Nobel' at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House on April 20, 2009 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage)
Tracy Chapman attending the 35th Kennedy Center Honors at Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on December 2, 2012 (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 02: Tracy Chapman attends the 35th Kennedy Center Honors at the Kennedy Center Hall of States on December 2, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Riccardo S. Savi/WireImage)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Tracy Chapman attends Cirque du Soleil 'Kurios' - Opening Night - San Francisco, CA at AT&T Park on November 14, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Trisha Leeper/WireImage)
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The Minaj track uses almost all of the lyrics of “Baby Can I Hold You” as a chorus, which is repeated twice after original rap verses. The song appeared on Chapman’s self-titled debut album, which also included “Fast Car.”

In July, Minaj’s manager emailed Chapman’s representatives, saying that Minaj was “inspired” by Chapman’s art and wanted to talk about using her work. A few days later, Minaj tweeted that she “had no clue” that the song “sampled the legend #TracyChapman,” according to the suit. The tweet has since been deleted.

The suit alleges that Minaj “has caused Chapman to incur substantial injury, loss, and damage as a result of her wrongdoing.” Chapman is seeking injunctive relief and damages.

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Nicki Minaj out and about
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Nicki Minaj out and about
TOPSHOT - Trinidadian-US rapper Nicki Minaj poses backstage with her awards during the MTV Europe Music Awards at the Bizkaia Arena in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao on November 4, 2018. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)
BILBAO, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 04: Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall of Little Mix, Nicki Minaj, Perrie Edwards and Jesy Nelson of Little Mix perform on stage during the MTV EMAs 2018 at Bilbao Exhibition Centre on November 04, 2018 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for MTV)
BILBAO, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 04: Sofia Reyes presents Nicki Minaj with the Best Hip Hop Award on stage during the MTV EMAs 2018 at Bilbao Exhibition Centre on November 4, 2018 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/MTV 2018/Getty Images for MTV)
BILBAO, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 04: Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards and Jesy Nelson of Little Mix perform on stage with Nicki Minaj (C) during the MTV EMAs 2018 on November 4, 2018 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
BILBAO, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 04: Nicki Minaj poses in the Winners room during the MTV EMAs 2018 on November 4, 2018 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 21: Nicki Minaj is seen during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 on September 21, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images)
MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 21: (EDITORS NOTE: This image is an alternate crop of #1037385278) (L-R) Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Rita Ora, Nicki Minaj and Chiara Ferragni attend the Versace show during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 on September 21, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images)
MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 21: Nicki Minaj arrives at the Versace show during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 on September 21, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images)
MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 20: Nicki Minaj is seen during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 on September 20, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images)
MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 19: Nicki Minaj attends Diesel Hate Couture on September 19, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12: Nicki Minaj wearing red dress outside Marc Jacons seen during New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 on September 12, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Rapper Nicki Minaj is seen arriving to Oscar De La Renta SS19 Fashion Show during New York Fashion Week at Spring Studios Terrace on September 11, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: (L-R) Yolanda Hadid, Carol Maraj, Nicki Minaj, Sofia Richie and Amber Heard attend the Oscar De La Renta front Row during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Spring Studios Terrace on September 11, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Nicki Minaj and Lewis Hamilon attend the TommyXLewis Launch Party at Public Arts on September 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Tommy Hilfiger)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Nicki Minaj attends Opening Ceremony - Front Row - September 2018 - New York Fashion Week at Le Poisson Rouge on September 9, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Nicki Minaj arrives to Harper's BAZAAR ICONS at The Plaza Hotel on September 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Nicki Minaj attends The Worldwide Editors Of Harper's Bazaar Celebrate ICONS by Carine Roitfeld presented by Infor, Stella Artois, FUJIFILM, Estee Lauder, Saks Fifth Avenue and Genesis at The Plaza Hotel on September 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Rapper Nicki Minaj is seen arriving to Monse Fashion Show SS19 at SIR Stage 37 on September 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: Nicki Minaj is seen walking in midtown on September 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05: Nicki Minaj seen on the streets of Manhattan on September 05, 2018 in New York, NY. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 20: Rapper Nicki Minaj holds her award for best hip-hop video in the press room at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 20: Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande inside the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 13: Nicki Minaj seen at 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert' on August 13, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24: Nicki Minaj attends the 2018 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for BET)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24: Nicki Minaj performs onstage at the 2018 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24: Nicki Minaj performs onstage at the 2018 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for BET)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 19: Nicki Minaj Hosts The Highline Ballroom on May 19, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: Nicki Minaj attends ELLE x Stuart Weitzman celebration of Giovanni Morelli's debut collection for Stuart Weitzman hosted by Nina Garcia on May 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for ELLE)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - MAY 13: (L-R) Nicki Minaj and Future party at LIV nightclub at Fontainebleau Miami on May 13, 2018 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Thaddaeus McAdams/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Nicki Minaj attends the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Nicki Minaj attends the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 10: Nicki Minaj attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on April 10, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 05: Singer Nicki Minaj is seen at Charles-de-Gaulle airport on April 5, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 04: Singer Nicki Minaj is seen on April 4, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/GC Images)
THE BROOKLYN BOROUGH OF NEW YORK CITY, NY - NOVEMBER 06: Rapper Nicki Minaj attends the 14th Annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards at Weylin B. Seymour's on November 6, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 17: Nicki Minaj attends as Nas performs onstage during Day 3 at The Meadows Music & Arts Festival at Citi Field on September 17, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images for The Meadows Music & Arts Festival)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 16: Nicki Minaj performs onstage during Day 2 at The Meadows Music & Arts Festival at Citi Field on September 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images for The Meadows Music & Arts Festival)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains nudity.) Nicki Minaj attends the Marc Jacobs fashion show at the Park Avenue Armory in the Upper East Side on September 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
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