Legal Pop: Remy Ma vs. Nicki Minja Part 2, The Ramifications Of Using A GhostWriter – Off the Mark

Legal Pop: Remy Ma vs. Nicki Minja Part 2, The Ramifications Of Using A GhostWriter








Last week we discussed the Remy Ma vs. Nicki Minja situation. We analyzed the ramifications of a 360 deal and other matters that artist tend to overlook in their contracts.


Top 3 takeaways from the Remy Ma Nicki Minja rap drama

  1. Don’t come for anyone who knows all of your business unless you want EVERYONE to know
  2. Own your sh*t
  3. Don’t be so eager for opportunity that you fail to consider the long-term effects

You can read the article in its entirety here.


Today on LegalPop we’re going to address the ghostwriter allegations from the SHether. ( I know, I know enough already) Remy spits,

Remy spits,

And to be the Queen of Rap, you gotta actually rap.  The whole industry know that your shit is a wrap.  No, to be the Queen of Rap, you can’t have a ghostwriter
And that’s why this is my house, Flo Rida.  Niggas done seen Drake penning, Wayne penning and since your first boyfriend left, bitch ain’t winning.  You a Internet troll, a Web browser, I’m sorry you can’t get her online without Safaree!

The Internet streets claim that Nicki isn’t the only one who’s not writing their own rhymes. Last week comedian Ryan Davis crowned Papoose the Queen of Rap claiming that we all know that he wrote the murderous diss track. Watch for yourself

So that we are all in the know, a ghostwriter is someone who writes behind the scenes as a third person. This writer can be employed to provide this service, however more often than not the ghostwriter is an independent contractor or in the case of Remy Ma and Nicki Minja, a significant other.


Work For Hire

Many people assume that if they pay for the work they will own it. It, refers to the copyright interest in the work. If you are new to Off The Mark, copyrights give the author of an original work that is fixed in tangible form the right to exclude others from

  • Reproducing,
  • Creating derivate works,
  • Performing,
  • Displaying or
  • Distributing their work.


Did someone design the artwork for your album cover? It’s theirs to dictate how, when and where you use it. Did they produce the melody to your greatest hit or write the lyrics for your ongoing rap feud?   If yes, did you have a discussion regarding copyright ownership?  I’m surprised how many people do business without discussing these matters.  Without the proper agreement in place, your ghostwriter has the final say so regarding you performing the work. In addition, if a third party wants to perform the song, they have to seek permission from the writer, not you. They only need your permission to use your version of the song.


Learn the cans and can’ts of copyrights


But doesn’t hiring an independent contractor make it a work for hire? No. Establishing an independent contractor relationship does not automatically make it a work for hire relationship. As it relates to independent contractors, the “commissioned” work must be use as


  • Contribution to a collective work;
  • As a part of a motion picture or audiovisual work;
  • A translation;
  • A supplementary work;
  • A compilation;
  • An instructional text;
  • Answer material for a test; or
  • An atlas

 AND there must be a written agreement signed by both parties expressly agreeing that the work is made for hire.

Often time the work we retain an independent contractor to do does not qualify as a work for hire. If this is the case the parties need to discuss whether the contractor will assign/transfer all the rights vested in him, making the other party the sole copyright owner. Or in the alternative, whether he will retain the copyright and grant the other party permission to reproducing, create derivate works, perform, display or distribute the work, referred to as a license.


I wonder if Remy and Nicki have talked to their respective ghostwriters and if they have their paperwork in order.


Keep in mind that this also applies to businesses. Have you hired a ghostwriter for your blog? Have you discussed copyright ownership? Do you have your paperwork in order?girl_blowing_chewing_gum trimmed


Contact our office if you need a contract reviewed or drafted.


We’re introducing a new series to the blog, Legal Pop.  On this series, we will discuss pop culture from a legal point of view.  Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments.