Press Release

James Oscar Smith v Drake Decision Marks Another Win for Fair Use

February 5, 2020 , , ,

Yesterday, the Second Circuit upheld a fair use finding in the case of James Oscar Smith v. Drake. The estate of James Oscar Smith sued the artist Drake (among others), claiming that Drake infringed on the estate’s rights when he sampled “Jimmy Smith Rap” for the opening of his track, “Pound Cake.” The trial court disagreed, holding that the sample was a fair use, and the Second Circuit affirmed that finding on appeal. 

The following can be attributed to Meredith Rose, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“Fair use is a keystone of our copyright system. It protects all kinds of uses — commentary, transformative uses, and commercial and noncommercial uses alike. The Second Circuit correctly rejected the Smith Estate’s unorthodox (and highly limiting) vision of fair use in favor of one that is more aligned with established jurisprudence. Only fair use is gonna last; all these other theories are here today and gone tomorrow.”

You can view our amicus brief in this case for more information.