Jay Z Wins Lawsuit Against Sound Engineer

Courtesy of thejayz.com
Courtesy of thejayz.com

Jay Z won his lawsuit against a sound engineer named Chauncey Mahan, who was claiming ownership of several of the rapper’s songs. Mahan engineered the recordings of some of Jay Z’s projects including the rapper’s Vol. 3… The Life and Times of S. Carter album. The engineer kept the rapper’s masters, unpublished songs, and recording outtakes on his hard drive. Mahan alleges he contacted Roc-A-Fella Records in 2000, and he let the label know he was in possession of the music. The engineer said he never received a response from Jay Z, until his Roc Nation representatives asked Mahan to meet them at his storage unit last year. The Roc Nation representatives made a record of the music that Mahan was in possession of, and they called the Los Angeles Police Department and accused the engineer of being in possession of stolen property.

Mahan was never charged with a crime, and he believed he was co-owner of the property. Therefore, Mahan filed a lawsuit seeking to be named co-owner of Jay Z’s recordings. Some of the songs from the rapper’s Vol. 3… The Life and Times of S. Carter album included “Jigga My N***a,” “Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up)” featuring Amil and Beanie Sigel, and “Big Pimpin'” featuring UGK. The project entered the Billboard 200 Albums chart at Number 1, after selling over 460,000 copies in its debut week. Vol. 3… The Life and Times of S. Carter would eventually sell over three million copies in the US, giving it a triple-platinum certification.

The judge ruled swiftly, and she believed Mahan doubted he ever had an actual case from the beginning. “Plaintiff asserts that a reasonable person would not necessarily have reason to know that royalties were owed to him in this situation. Considering the depth of Plaintiff’s experience in the music industry and the substantial commercial success of the albums, this assertion strains credulity,” Judge Lorna Schofield wrote. The judge ruled Roc-A-Fella Records owns the copyrights to Jay Z‘s music (including all the sound recording Mahan recorded), not the person who engineered the project. Jay Z was able to recover all of the music Mahan was in possession of, although the engineer claims the rapper’s representatives unlawfully removed the items from his storage unit.

FDRMX Eyes: Naomi K is a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter. Check out her music video for “Never See You Again.”

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