This past Friday, Beyoncé’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the estate of late New Orleans rapper, Anthony Barré, also known as “Messy Mya.”
Attorney Mary Ellen Roy argues that Barré’s sister has “grossly overstated” the use of Barre’s work in the “Formation” video and its subsequent use during live performances — including a claim involving Super Bowl 50. Roy also argued that the minimal and transformative use of the clips falls within the protection of the fair-use doctrine, however, the defendants don’t need it because the music video producer licensed the work. Roy also expressed in the court docs that about six seconds of the same audio was played during Beyoncé’s performances during the “Formation World Tour.”
“While beyond the scope of this motion, Pretty Bird licensed the YouTube Videos from Mr. Barré’s family before plaintiff Angel Barré had herself appointed as the administrator of the Estate of Anthony Barré weeks after the Music Video’s premiere — presumably for the purpose of bringing this action,” -Mary Ellen Roy.
The motion also seeks to remove all defendants who aren’t involved with the music video or live performances. So, in the event that any claims survive the motion to dismiss, only Beyonce, Sony, director Melina Matsoukas, and Pretty Bird Pictures would remain involved.
Alonzo Wickers and Nicolas Jampol of Davis Wright Tremaine are also representing the defendants in this suit.
The $20 million lawsuit was filed by Anthony Barré’s sister, Angel Barré, who is seeking royalties, damages, and an order that Barre is credited as a writer, composer, producer, and artist on the Formation track. Angel filed the lawsuit back in February. The suit claims the samples infringe the rights in two works of Barre’s performance art, “A 27 Piece Huh?” and “Booking the Hoes from New Wildin.” His voice can be heard at the start of Bey’s “Formation” visual saying, “What happened at the New Orleans…” and then again further into the clip, saying “B****, I’m back by popular demand.”
Anthony Barre was fatally shot in 2010.
Source: Hollywood Reporter