Friday, September 19, 2014 4:58am ET by  
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Jay Z sued for 'oh' syllable

The “oh” in Jay Z's 'Run This Town' is the subject of a major lawsuit after record label, Tuf America, claimed that the syllable was taken from a 1969 funk composition by Eddie Bo and used in Jay Z's UK No.1 hit.

'Run This Town' featuring Rihanna and Kanye West was a big hit in 2009 for Jay Z.

Damages and royalties are being sought for a sample of the single vowel sound “oh” from 'Hook and Sling' by Bo, which was used once in 'Run This Town.

Bo died in 2009 but his label, TufAmerica, has previously sued Kanye West for unauthorised use of a sample from the same song.

Jay Z and his co-defendants WB Music Corp, Warner-Temerlane Publishing, Roc Nation, Altantic and Roc-A-Fella Records argue that the sample was too insignificant for TufAmerica to claim sole copyright protection over.

Papers filed by the defendants' lawyers claimed: “It is black letter law that words and short phrases are simply not protectable under the Copyright Act.

“Thus, Plaintiff cannot state a claim based on the alleged infringement of a generic lyric such as, ‘oh,’ or the sound recording thereof, and Plaintiffs claims should be dismissed as a matter of law.”

“The alleged copying here of a sound lasting a fraction of a second in Plaintiffs Works is de minimis and thus not actionable.”

Jay Z’s team cited a similar case that TufAmerica lost last year. The label claimed that The Beastie Boys’ albums 'Licensed to Ill' and 'Paul’s Boutique' contained an unauthorised sample of the phrase “Now I want y’all to break this down” from the band Trouble Funk.

'Hook and Sling' has been sampled by a number of hip-hop stars. Elements of the song appear on Kanye West’s 'Good Friday' and LL Cool J's 'Mama Said Knock You Out' as well as 'SexyBack' by Justin Timberlake.

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Watch the official video to Jay Z's 'Run This Town' featuring Rihanna and Kanye West, and listen to Eddie Bo's 'Hook and Sling' below: