A judge has dismissed claims by the ex-frontman of rap group 2 Live Crew that rapper 50 Cent stole the opening line for the 2003 single In Da Club.
50 Cent was voted songwriter of the year in May
Luther Campbell filed a claim at Miami Federal Court in January that 50 Cent used a line from Campbell's song It's Your Birthday, changing just one word.
But District Judge Paul C Huck claimed the phrase was a "common, unoriginal, non-copyrightable element of the song".
Judge Huck said there were almost no other similarities between the songs.
Dismissing the claim the judge said the disputed line only represented 11 seconds of a track that lasted more than three minutes.
No reasonable jury would conclude that the compositions have substantial similarities and the average person would not confuse the two songs, the judge wrote.
The original claim was filed on behalf of Lil' Joe Wein Music, which holds the copyright for It's Your Birthday, against Curtis Jackson, the real name of rapper 50 Cent.
Campbell's lawyer had claimed that in In Da Club, "Sheila" becomes "shorty" in the line "Go shorty, it's your birthday."
Campbell's song appeared on his 1994 solo album Still a Freak for Life.
Campbell's lawyer Richard C Wolfe said, in January: "It's the melody, it's the pace, the style - everything about that one line is the same."
"We're entitled to a portion of the profits."
Neither party was available for comment on Friday.