Beyoncé and Big Freedia face copyright lawsuit over sampled track

Beyoncé, 42, and Big Freedia, 46, are facing a copyright infringement lawsuit from New Orleans music group Da Showstoppaz, who claim their 2002 single “Release a Wiggle” was sampled without permission, per The group alleges they were neither credited nor compensated for the use of their work in Big Freedia’s 2014 track “Explode”, and subsequently in Beyoncé’s 2022 hit “Break My Soul”.

Da Showstoppaz’s legal team, led by attorneys Shermin Khan and Abid M. Hussain, filed the lawsuit in Louisiana, accusing Beyoncé and Big Freedia of “willful copyright infringement, unfair trade practices, and unjust enrichment.” According to the legal documents reviewed by “People”, the group’s original track was used without authorization, leading to substantial financial gains for the artiste involved.

The lawsuit details the timeline of alleged infringements, stating that Big Freedia first sampled “Release a Wiggle” in “Explode”, which Beyoncé later incorporated into her Grammy-winning song “Break My Soul”. The complaint argues that given Big Freedia’s deep ties to New Orleans’ bounce music scene and association with BlackHouse Entertainment, it is plausible she had access to Da Showstoppaz’s material.

“Release a Wiggle” was reportedly sold at bounce music clubs and uploaded to YouTube in 2014 by group member Keva Bourgeois. The group registered copyrights for the track in 2022 and for its lyrics, arrangements, and melodies in 2023.

Da Showstoppaz’s lawyers demand that Beyoncé and Big Freedia cease unauthorised use of their work and provide appropriate credit and compensation rights, assets and interests”.

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