Hip-hop superproducer Timbaland has been cleared in a copyright infringement lawsuit over the sampling of a Bollywood tune.
The beatmaker was sued by the owners of publishing firm Saregama India Limited, who claimed he had illegally used their song Baghor Mein Bahar Hai, from the 1969 film Aradhana, when he created Put You on the Game for rapper The Game in 2005.
A U.S. judge initially ruled in Timbaland's favour, but Saregama bosses appealed and took the case to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
But they failed to win over Judge Jane A. Restani, who cited an old Indian law in her ruling last week (ends25Mar11) and claimed the plaintiff "lacks statutory standing to bring this copyright infringement action".
Timbaland was cleared of wrongdoing because songs in old Bollywood films can have up to three separate owners, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and therefore the star did not break copyright rules.
In her precedential documents, the judge wrote, "Pre-recorded song covered by the Agreement - a right that became non-exclusive, and thus ceased being a copyright, at the conclusion of the Agreement's two-year term. Thus even if Bmbh were covered by the agreement (a question we need not decide), Saregama would not currently own a copyright in the Bmbh sound recording and thus lacks statutory standing to bring this copyright infringement action. We, therefore, affirm the district court's order granting summary judgment for the Defendants."