Earlier this year, Beyoncé was sued by the estate of Messy Mya for sampling the popular YouTube star’s words without permission. And now a Louisiana federal judge has denied Bey’s motion to dismiss the copyright claims (as she attempted to do on the grounds of fair use).
Mya, a New Orleans bounce rapper and comedian who was fatally shot in 2010, can be heard on Bey’s hit song “Formation” saying “I like that.” The phrase comes from a performance art piece from Mya—born Anthony Barré—titled “A 27-Piece Huh?”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the judge recognized that Mya’s estate’s claim was “plausibl[e],” writing that Beyoncé “did not change or alter the ‘expressive content or message’ of Anthony Barre’s YouTube videos, but rather used unmodified clips without adding anything new.”
The judge also wrote that it would be a disservice to the “copyright law’s goal of promoting the Progress of Science and Useful Arts” if it allowed Bey’s “use of [the] Plaintiffs’ copyrighted material without authorization or compensation than by preventing it.”
The lawsuit asked Beyoncé for more than $20,000,000 in back royalties and other damages.