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Jay Z might be in a legal battle over the word “oh”

Techdirt reports that Jay Z may be entering a legal fight over “Run This Town,” his 2009 single with Rihanna that was recently in the news for other reasons. Rihanna’s battle is with the NFL, but Jay Z’s is with a record label which claims his use of the word “oh,” a sample from Eddie Bo’s 1969 song “Hook And Sling” that is used once on the track, constitutes copyright infringement.

TufAmerica, a record label known for its litigiousness, argues that the word is an unlicensed sample and is seeking damages as a result. On the other hand, Hova’s lawyers have argued, basically, that the claim is absurd: “Even if one short word—or the recording thereof—could possibly be deemed original enough to warrant copyright protection, this fleeting and generic phrase is neither quantitatively nor qualitatively significant,” they wrote.


This case could actually have big repercussions for the legality of sampling, as dissected at length in Techdirt’s article and more succinctly by Sean Michaels at The Guardian. As of this writing, the word “oh” is still a single vowel sound.

Speaking of hip-hop legal battles: Nicki Minaj has won her lawsuit against wig designer Terrance Davidson, who sued the performer for selling multicolored wigs that he claimed he had exclusively designed for her. The lawsuit was for a cool $30 million; TMZ reports that a judge has thrown the lawsuit out. (To be exact, TMZ reports that the judge told Davidson to “go follicle yourself,” but that doesn’t seem relevant.)

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