Beyoncé Faces Copyright Infringement Accusations

This is a developing story. Due to the success of her song “Break My Soul,” Beyoncé is facing a copyright lawsuit. The New Orleans-based outfit Da Showstoppaz filed a complaint, accusing the pop singer of violating copyright. The band alleges Big Freedia stole lyrics from their 2002 song “Release A Wiggle,” which Beyoncé sampled in her 2022 song, which is the source of the dispute. Yesterday, May 22, Tessa Avie, Keva Bourgeois, Henri Braggs, and Brian Clark, the band members, filed a complaint with the Louisiana federal court. They claimed in the complaint that Bey had sampled Big Freedia’s song “Explode” from 2014 but that the latter had illegally utilized “copyrighted lyrics, melody, and musical arrangement” from their song to create the feature in “Break My Soul’. In addition to the singer known for “Cowboy Carter,” other defendants include Big Freedia, Sony Music, Jay-Z, and others.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants used the words, melody, and musical arrangement from the plaintiffs’ copyrighted works to create an album as a tribute to ‘Uncle Johnny’, who promoted the music and culture of the LGBTQ community in greater New Orleans. The plaintiffs claim that three community members are closely associated with themselves and that the album displays the full essence of bounce music, including the tone, actual words, melody, and musical arrangement. The lawsuit also mentions the song’s significant success, including reaching the top of the US singles chart, being frequently played during her ‘Renaissance’ tour, and appearing in the accompanying documentary film about the live shows.

“Mrs. Carter, Big Freedia, Parkwood, Sony, and others have been recognized and have profited significantly from ‘Explode,’ ‘Break My Soul,’ the ‘Renaissance’ album, the ‘Renaissance World Tour,’ and the ‘Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé.’ It’s stated that ‘Da Showstoppaz’ has not received any acknowledgement, credit, or compensation.”

The New Orleans trio requests royalties for future licensing on “Break My Soul” and “Explode,” in addition to credit for compensating rights on those songs in the complaint. A Beyoncé representative did not reply to a request for comment from RS. The Big Freedia song “Explode” sample appears lawfully licensed by Bey; hence, the claimed violation on Da Showstoppaz would have been unintentional.

Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé’s highly successful new album with a country influence, has been making headlines since the beginning of 2024. Shortly after its release, it became the first black woman to achieve multiple firsts, such as Beyoncé becoming the first black woman to have a number-one country album in the US charts with “Texas Hold’ Em” and receiving support from big names like Michelle Obama and Paul McCartney.

Along with sharing a remix of the song, the celebrity revealed that she had used a significant portion of the original backing music from the 1968 rendition of “Blackbird” in her rendition. Furthermore, she verified that Raye was listed as a co-writer on one song, “Cowboy,” and that Stevie Wonder contributed harmonica to “Jolene.”

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