Jay Z Facing Lawsuit For Using The Word “Oh” On “Run This Town”

Hip Hop superstar Jay Z, WB Music Corp, Warner-Tamerlane Publishing, Roc Nation, Atlantic and Roc-A-Fella Records are facing a copyright lawsuit for sampling the word “oh” on Jay’s hit record “Run This Town.”

The TufAmerica record label claims Hov illegally took the single syllable word from the track “Hook & Sling –  Part 1″ by Eddie Bo.

Jay Z is fighting back though. According to TechDirt.com, the Brooklyn emcee filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit earlier this month. Jay’s court papers read in part:

Plaintiffs entire, misguided copyright infringement lawsuit is based on an alleged “sample” of the most fleeting one-syllable word – “oh” – in defendants’ sound recording entitled, “Run This Town” performed by the artist Jay-Z. Plaintiff alleges that this single-word sample is derived from Plaintiffs musical composition entitled “Hook & Sling Part 1″  and the sound recording thereof.
 
Importantly, Plaintiff does not allege that any musical element of Plaintiffs Works was copied – only the spoken word “oh,” which appears just once in the introduction to Plaintiff’s Works at approximately the 3-second mark, lasts for a fraction of a second in Plaintiffs Recording and is not repeated.
 
Plaintiff apparently believes that it has a monopoly on the use of the word “oh” and that it can stop others from using this word in recorded form. Well-established copyright jurisprudence should allow this Court to disabuse Plaintiff of that notion. First, it is black letter law that words and short phrases are simply not protectable under the Copyright Act. Thus, Plaintiff cannot state a claim based on the alleged infringement of a generic lyric such as, “oh,” or the sound recording thereof, and Plaintiffs claims should be dismissed as a matter of law.
TufAmerica’s suit was filed in November of 2013. The company acquired the rights to “Hook & Sling” in 1996. “Run This Town” was released in 2009.
 
According to The Guardian, the label previously sued Kanye West over the same song. The track is apparently sampled on Ye’s “Lost in the World” off My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.