Beyoncé and Jay Z have won a lawsuit against Hungarian singer Mitsou, who claimed that they superstar couple illegally sampled her vocals for their December 2013 hit "Drunk in Love."
On Friday (Dec. 17), Manhattan Supreme Court judge Cynthia Kern dismissed that lawsuit on what seemed like technical grounds, saying that "Drunk in Love" is a "constitutionally protected work of art" and thus is not held accountable to the New York Civil Rights Law, Page Six reports. The law protects a "name, portrait, picture or voice used for advertising or trade purposes without written consent" but doesn't seem to cover art or something used not for advertising or trade.
The use of "Drunk in Love" for promo purposes for Jay Z and Beyoncé's On the Run HBO special wasn't enough for the Manhattan Supreme Court.
Mitsou claims that Beyoncé and Jay Z used her vocals from her 1997 cover of the traditional folk song "Gypsy Life on the Road" for "Drunk in Love." Indeed, her vocals can be heard quite prominently throughout the opening bars of the song and they continue through the rest of the five-and-a-half minute Beyoncé single.
The lawsuit wasn't dismissed on the grounds that Beyoncé and Jay Z used the sample with permission but because in the words of the Civil Rights Law, the clearance doesn't matter for artistic or literary works, which "Drunk in Love" qualifies as.
Neither Beyoncé nor Jay Z have commented on the lawsuit.