Beyonce Faces $20 Million Copyright Lawsuit For Song ‘Formation’

Andrew HarnikAndrew Harnik

Beyonce faces a $20 million lawsuit for allegedly sampling a rapper without permission in her hit song, “Formation.”

The estate of New Orleans rapper, Messy Mya filed the lawsuit against the 35-year-old superstar accusing her of using the rapper’s work without permission, according to Forbes Magazine.

The family of Anthony Barré, revealed that Beyonce used Barré’s voice, where he uttered—”What happened after New Orleans?” and B**ch, I’m back. By popular demand” at the beginning of the song. The portions were allegedly lifted from Messy Mya’s songs, A 27 Piece Huh and Booking the Hoes From New Wildings.

The estate of the YouTube personality is suing Queen Bey for the copyright infringement. Her husband and rapper Jay Z, as well as Sony Music, are also named in the lawsuit. Mya’s sister revealed that the family tried to reach out to the former Destiny’s Child singer but “received nothing…no acknowledgment, no credit, no remuneration of any kind.”

Mya’s sister is asking for her brother to be properly accredited “as a writer, composer, producer, and performer.” The 22-year-old rapper was killed in 2010 in New Orleans after he left a baby shower for his unborn child. A source speaking to Nola News pointed out that Jason Hamilton was arrested for the murder. According to the source, the 27-year-old was later released after spending three years behind bars. Emerging evidence showed that he was miles away from the shooting scene.

Hamilton had boasted about killing Messy Mya and it was caught on video. But his defense attorney, Martin Regan convinced a jury that the 27-year-old man was bipolar and had stopped taking his medication when he made his bizarre confession. His unstable mental health condition had left him in psychiatric care for 18 months before he could stand trial.

The charges against Hamilton were eventually dropped after three people testified that they saw him on a college campus in Southern Louisiana. His cell phone records also confirmed that he was not present at the scene of the shooting. Federal investigators eventually arrested another man who confessed to the crime. A gun was recovered from him and the ballistics matched the weapon used to kill Anthony Barré.

Observers who have watched Mya’s video and compared it with Beyonce’s agree that it is his voice being heard at the beginning of the “Formation” video. They believe that the diva would find it hard to wriggle out of the lawsuit if a judge establishes that the slain New Orleans rapper’s voice and lyrics were used without permission. Legal experts have advised that Queen Bey settle the suit before it makes it to court.

However, another school of thought believes that the 35-year-old singer has nothing to answer. They argue that the mother-of-one can argue under the auspices of “fair use,” noting that the “Formation” video was used to make a political statement which is covered by Section 107 of the Copyright Act.

The act stipulates that certain comments, criticisms, and political undertones can be qualified under fair use. Beyonce, who is pregnant with twins in the video, addressed Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as well as police violence in the video. But alternatively, there is the assumption that this claim can easily be countered because the 20-time Grammy winner has made plenty of money off the song.

This is not the first time that a lawsuit has been filed against the “Drunk in Love” singer. In 2015, Beyonce was sued by singer Ahmad Lane for reportedly pinching his song and using it for her single, XO.

Lane had claimed that he gave a copy of the original song, XOXO to another singer, Chrissy Collins. He alleged that the song somehow got to Beyonce who released it as the first single for her fifth studio album. Ahmad Lane had sued for $7 million in damages. A source speaking to ET Online said the case was knocked out of court. The judge had ruled that the only similarities between the two songs were the letters X and O.

[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]