It appears as though Kanye West is in hot water yet again. However, it’s not for something he said. Rather, it’s due to a copyright infringement regarding his most recent album, Donda 2. Kanye West was handed a lawsuit on Wednesday, June 29th, 2022 for purportedly sampling a song by Marshall Jefferson without having the sample cleared.
The forty-five-year-old rapper, who legally changed his name to Ye last year, released Donda 2 exclusively on the Stem Player on February 23rd, 2022. According to Ultra International Music Publishing LLC, Kanye West’s song “Flowers” from Donda 2 utilizes a sample from Marshall Jefferson’s 1986 track “Move Your Body” that repeats at a minimum of twenty-two times.
Kanye West, who has a reported net worth of two billion USD, has not had his representatives immediately respond to a request for comment. Ye’s label, Universal Music Group, has also not issued a statement, even though they are not a party in the lawsuit. So, how will this case affect Kanye West’s overall net worth?
Ye screws over Marshall Jefferson
An attorney for Ultra International Music Publishing LLC told the press the company had no comment, and that the lawsuit speaks for itself. Marshall Jefferson is one of the musicians who were at the vanguard of Chicago’s house music scene. Jefferson said, “I’ve been sampled thousands of times. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about it.”
According to the suit, West’s legal team pointed out during discussions with Jefferson that “Flowers” sampled “Move Your Body” without proper clearance. However, that dialogue didn’t end with a licensing agreement. The lawsuit also said, “West advocates for artists’ rights with one hand, yet has no shame in taking away rights from another artist with the other.”
Additionally, Kano Computing Ltd, the British company that worked with Kanye to develop the Stem Player was named in the suit. They didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The lawsuit went on to say that the song “Flowers” is allegedly about Kanye West’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian, whose divorce was finalized in March.
This isn’t the first time that Kanye has been embroiled in a legal battle involving music copyright. Texas minister David Paul Moten sued West in May for apparently sampling one of his sermons without permission. In the past, Kanye has settled lawsuits over sampling problems, which sometimes affect his net worth, but often lead to more notoriety.
Kanye’s legal dilemmas
In 2013, Ye settled a legal battle over the unauthorized sampling of a Hungarian singer on “New Slaves.” He did the same in 2016 regarding the use of a clip of a child praying on “Ultralight Beam.” Again in 2018, West settled a suit over a sample of a theater work about the life of Marcus Garvey on “Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2)” from KIDS SEE GHOSTS with Kid Cudi.
While speaking to BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat, Marshall Jefferson said, “Getting done by another artist, a Black artist, a fellow Chicagoan without acknowledgment is disappointing.” Jefferson desires profits & damages to be determined in a courtroom, or maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement.
Originally released on Trax Records, “Move Your Body” made history by being the first house record to use a piano. Jefferson was working for the U.S. Postal Service while he recorded the song, which Rolling Stone named the 335th greatest song of all time in 2021.
This isn’t the first time that “Move Your Body” has been the subject of a lawsuit. Jefferson was recently disputing the ownership of the song’s rights with Trax. The record label landed on a settlement agreement with Jefferson pertaining to his music publishing catalog in 2019.
Kanye West is being sued by Marshall Jefferson regarding the illegal sampling of his song “Move Your Body” on West’s “Flowers”. This suit could possibly affect West’s net worth, which is valued at around two billion dollars. What do you think of Kanye West? Let us know in the comments!
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