Stines v The Carters

by Tequila Higgins

On Tuesday, June 16, a suit was filed against music mogul couple Sean “Jay Z” Carter and Beyonce Knowles Carter by Jamaican artist, Lenora Antoinette Stines. Stines accuses The Carters of copyright infringement, right of publicity, and unjust enrichment in the suit filed with the United States District Court Central District of California.

The song in question is “Black Effect” from the couple’s joint album entitled “The Carters” which was released in 2018. Stines alleges that she was approached in Jamaica by the couple in March 2018 to help obtain dancers for a video that was being done to promote their album and tour. Upon arrival at the video shoot, Stines said that she was told that she “must sign” an agreement in order to participate, and when she questioned the terms of the agreement, she was told that it was a standard document that everyone had to sign and not to worry because the agreement was only going to be used so that her voice could be used in the video. The suit also states that when Stines asked if she could take a picture of the agreement and send to her son, an attorney in South Florida, to review it, she “was explicitly told that she could not send a picture of the agreement to anyone to review.”

Upon the release of the album in June 2018, the suit states “To the shock, horror and chagrin of dr. Stines, the Project featured the unauthorized exploitation of her vocals on the song known as “Black Effect” (the “Recording”), and the discovery left Dr. Stines “feeling violated.” Stines is seeking damages, legal fees, a portion of the publishing rights and writer’s credit for the single.

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