JUDGE DENIES Beyonce's Filed Motion To Dismiss A $20 Million "Formation" Infringement Lawsuit.

Image Via E.T

In April, Beyoncé asked a federal court in New Orleans to toss out a copyright infringement case filed against her in connection with her hit track, “Formation.” 

The estate of the late New Orleans-based rapper Anthony Barré – better known as Messy Mya – filed suit against Beyoncé in February in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana for allegedly sampling Barré’s vocals in her song. 

April 18, Beyoncé’s counsel filed a motion to have the case dismissed, arguing that “Plaintiffs have grossly overstated Defendants’ use of the YouTube Videos. While they allege that Defendants used the YouTube Videos in the sound recording and composition of the Song and during the Super Bowl halftime show, these allegations are disproven by the works themselves. 

In reality, the snippets from the YouTube Videos were used only in the Music Video and, to a lesser extent, during the Live Performances.” Additionally, Beyoncé’s legal team argues that “Formation” only “used a total of approximately ten seconds of audio from two YouTube videos featuring Anthony Barré walking through the streets of New Orleans speaking to the camera and interacting with others along the way.  

With the foregoing in mind, Beyoncé’s team has asked the court to dismiss the case in its entirety. 

Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown has refused to dismiss the estate of Barré's copyright lawsuit, denying a request that she declare the video a protected fair use. 

Judge Brown found that Barre has made a case that Beyonce's use of the clips was not transformative and that, although the samples were short, it was a "qualitatively significant" use. 

She also notes that a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, like this one, is "viewed with disfavor and is rarely granted." She further wrote in her decision, "Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged in their complaint that Defendants did not change or alter the 'expressive content or message' of Anthony Barre’s YouTube videos, but rather used unmodified clips without adding anything new,."