One Of Jay Z's Problems Is Clearing Samples, And He's About To Pay For It

by Adam Pliskin

Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke had to pay a great deal of money after losing a lawsuit against Marvin Gaye's estate in regards to their hit song, "Blurred Lines."

Now, it seems like it's Jay Z's turn to feel the financial wrath of copyright infringement.

For his song "Versus" off Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jay Z sampled a piece of music from Swiss musician Bruno Spoerri.

However, Jay did not receive permission from Spoerri beforehand and will now have to give Spoerri half of the song's earnings.

The bit of music was lifted from Spoerri's 1978 instrumental track, "On the Way."

The silly thing about this story is, if Jay had just asked Spoerri before he stole the sample, there wouldn't have been an issue.

Spoerri said,

In a way I'm flattered that a relatively young rapper takes a sample from an old man, a sample that is about 35 years old. On the other hand I'm furious because it would have been so simple to clear the sample. All it would have needed was a call or an email to the company and I think it would have been relatively cheap.

And more than money, what Spoerri really wants is a simple apology.

He said,

I would like them to acknowledge what happened and say 'sorry.' And then I think it would be fine if they would put my name on the piece and in the end I want to have a part of the money that comes in.

It looks like Jay Z goofed up on this one big time. There's really no denying he stole from "On the Way" either.

Hear both songs for yourself and you'll know what I mean.

Here is Spoerri's "On the Way":

And here is Jay Z's "Versus":

Citations: Jay Z Will Pay Back Royalties For an Uncleared Sample On Magna Carta Holy Grail (Complex)