Beyoncé and Jay-Z were hit last week with a civil lawsuit filed in New York state court by a Hungarian Roma singer who claims the couple’s hit collaboration “Drunk In Love” includes a sample of her voice used without her permission.
Mónika Juhász Miczura, better known as Mitsou, claims Bey and Jay failed to credit her for “Drunk,” which allegedly contains a digitally manipulated sample of her vocal performance. According to Miczura, described in the complaint as “a Hungarian singer of considerable international acclaim,” the sample was taken from her 1995 recording of “Bajba, Bajba Pélem,” a traditional Roma folk song that doesn’t sound terribly sexy. “The song is about hopelessness, when one can no longer trust anyone but her own mother and God,” said the complaint, which contains no references to drankin’ watermelon.
Miczura claims she found out about the alleged “Drunk” sample through phone calls from friends. She claims nearly a third of the song features her voice.
Producer Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley is named as a defendant, along with four other producers. Béyonce’s Parkwood Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment and Columbia Records are also named. Miczura’s suit seeks a permanent injunction to block the defendants from using her voice, as well as compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees, and court costs.
Given how infrequently the really fun civil lawsuits go to trial, this might be the best opportunity for a dramatization of the testimony:
Plaintiff’s counsel: Is it your testimony that you and Mr. Carter woke up in the kitchen…I’m sorry, let me refer to my notes, I want to get the language precise. Um…got it. Is it your testimony that you and Mr. Carter woke up in the kitchen wondering how did this shit happen?
Beyoncé Carter: That is my testimony.
PC: Sounds like this was a pretty crazy night. Cigars on ice and what have you.
BC: That’s correct.
PC: So…and stay with me here, isn’t it possible that in the same way you and Mr. Carter wound up in the kitchen with no recollection of the preceding events, the two of you also listened to some Hungarian music and sampled it without permission, and now have no memory of doing so?
BC: I suppose that’s possible.
PC: No further questions.