As Tracy Chapman’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Nicki Minaj came to a close, the two sides apparently came to a settlement without going to court. Nicki agreed to pay Chapman $450,000 for her unlicensed sample of “Baby Can I Hold You” in the leaked song “Sorry,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. In September, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips determined that Nicki had a fair use right to use “Baby Can I Hold You” to create “Sorry,” but not to distribute it, setting up a separate trial to determine responsibility for the leak.
On Thursday, California court documents became public revealing the results of the judgment, which nixes the second trial. Chapman agreed to accept the settlement amount, avoiding trial costs should the trial have fallen in Nicki’s favor. Chapman initially sued the rapper in 2018, after blocking her clearance request for “Sorry” ahead of the release of Nicki’s fourth studio album Queen. Incidentally, Nicki’s revelation that Chapman had denied her request led to a days-long campaign of social media harassment from her Barbz, which probably didn’t help her case much.
Although the song was ultimately removed from the Queen tracklist, someone leaked it online and Funkmaster Flex played the leak on the radio, prompting Chapman’s lawsuit to block it from official release or public performances. Now that this case is in her rearview, though, Nicki still faces other legal issues. Earlier this week, TMZ reported Nicki had been sued for $200 million by another Queens rapper claiming that he’d written the entirety of her song “Rich Sex.”