Jay Z and Roc-A-Fella Records Win Lawsuit Stemming from 'Life and Times of S. Carter' Tapes
Jay Z and Roc-A-Fella Records have come out on top regarding a lawsuit filed last year, where onetime engineer Chauncey Mahan alleged that he deserved part-ownership of 41 songs he helped produce. The most publicity the lawsuit received was when the rapper's side claimed Mahan had attempted to illegally sell the emcee his own recordings, while the engineer questioned Jay Z's use of an LAPD sting operation to recover the goods. Methods aside, Hov came out on top.
Judge Lorna Schofield broke the illegitimacy of Mahan's charges down into three segments, all of which should have hinted to Mahan many years prior that he had no standing...and if he thought he did, the time to file a lawsuit should have been around the time of the release for Vol. 3...Life and Times of S. Carter during 1999. For one, the credits on the album don't list Mahan among the songwriters, a pretty obvious hint. Secondly, Mahan—as a seasoned industry professional—probably should have noticed about 16 years ago that he wasn't receiving royalties for hits such as "Big Pimpin'." Finally, Roc-A-Fella has held the copyrights on the material for 16 years without any challenge from Mahan.
At least the judge didn't question Mahan's competency as an engineer, as several sources on Hov's side did when the allegations first came out.
Mahan was also hoping to get some standing from the bizarre showdown that occurred during 2014 when Jay came back for his recordings. Mahan had apparently stored unused recordings and outtakes from the sessions, and allegedly attempted to sell them to Roc-A-Fella last year. The label then spoke to the LAPD, arranging a sting at the storage facility where Mahan had the merch. Schofield didn't rule on the legality of the seizure but noted that the communication between Roc-A-Fella and the police was privileged, and that Mahan would need to file a separate lawsuit for perjury if he suspected the label misrepresented him in order to get the sting approved.