By Hilary Weaver. Photos: Getty Images.
Beyoncé is facing a rare hurdle—a lawsuit—and her team is firing back. In February, one year after the release of her hit single “Formation,” the estate of the late New Orleans comedian, rapper, and YouTuber Messy Mya (née Anthony Barre) filed a $20 million suit against the Grammy winner for using clips of two of the rapper’s videos in her music video for the song, as well as during concerts on her Formation world tour. On Monday, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Beyoncé’s legal team filed a motion for dismissal on Friday in New Orleans, seeking to put an end to the suit.
Beyoncé’s attorney Mary Roy wrote that Barre’s sister Angel, who filed the suit, has “grossly overstated” the use of Barre’s videos in Beyonce’s recorded work and live performances.
“Among its many references to New Orleans, the Music Video used a total of approximately ten seconds of audio from two YouTube videos featuring Anthony Barre—also known as ‘Messy Mya’—walking through the streets of New Orleans speaking to the camera and interacting with others along the way,” Roy wrote, per T.H.R. “About six seconds of that same audio was played at Beyoncé’s performances of the Song during the ‘Formation World Tour.’”
The original February lawsuit asked that Angel Barre receive royalties and damages; it also requested Anthony Barre receive credit as a writer, producer, and composer on the original “Lemonade” track.
In her filing Friday, Roy argued that Beyoncé’s minimal use of the videos falls within the fair-use doctrine, and added that the video’s producer, Pretty Bird, also licensed all of Barre’s creations. Beyoncé’s legal team also seeks to remove all defendants, including Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. and WB Music Corporation, who are not involved with the music or live performance, from the suit—leaving only Beyoncé, Sony, Pretty Bird, and “Formation” director Melina Matsoukas involved.
Vanity Fair has reached out to Roy for comment.
This story originally appeared on Vanity Fair.
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