By Hayden Wright
Beyoncé’s Lemonade song “Formation” was hailed as a powerful, assertive lead single from her groundbreaking album. The track opens with a spoken word sample from the late Anthony Barre (drag queen Messy Mya): “What happened at the New Orleans. Bitch, I’m back by popular demand. Oh yeah baby. I like that.”
Barre’s sister sued Beyoncé for sampling Anthony’s work without permission. Bey filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on fair use grounds, but a judge has just ruled that the suit can proceed because the sample is “qualitatively significant,” reports the Hollywood Reporter.
“Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged in their complaint that Defendants did not change or alter the ‘expressive content or message’ of Anthony Barré’s YouTube videos, but rather used unmodified clips without adding anything new,” wrote Louisiana Federal Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown.
“”[T]he Court concludes at this stage of litigation that ‘the copyright law’s goal of promoting the Progress of Science and useful Arts’ would not be better served by allowing Defendants’ use of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted material without authorization or compensation than by preventing it,” the document continues.
Angel Barre is suing for statutory damages as well as legal fees.