Kanye West has been hit by a copyright infringement lawsuit, filed by a Texas pastor over the rapper’s song Come to Life.
According to details, Bishop David P.Moten filed a lawsuit against West in Dallas federal court on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Bishop David Paul Moten filed a lawsuit at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
The nature of the lawsuit is intellectual property rights pertaining to copyright. The Cause of Action is under 17 U.S.C.§ 101 Copyright infringement. The Presiding Judge is District Judge Ed Kinkeade .
According to the publicly available docket report, the Plaintiff Bishop David Paul Moten filed a Complaint with Jury Demand, a Certificate of Interested Persons/Disclosure Statement, and with the appropriate filing fees being paid on May 3, 2022. On May 4, 2022, a summons was issued to Def Jam Recordings, Getting Out Our Dreams Inc, UMG Recordings Inc, Ye. A report to the Copyright Office of initiating document was also filed on May 4, 2022.
In the complaint, the Plaintiff alleged that “[o]n or about August 29, 2021, West’s album, Donda, was released. The album includes the sound recording ‘Come to Life’, which was produced by West, Jeff Bhasker, Warryn Campbell, Mark Williams, and Raul Cubina. The sound recording ‘Come to Life’ contains repeated, unauthorized, unlicensed samples from the sound recording of a sermon delivered and owned by Plaintiff (the ‘Sermon’).”
According to the complaint, “Defendants willfully and without the permission or consent of Plaintiff extensively sampled portions of the Sermon,” Moten wrote.
“Over the span of several years, defendants have demonstrated an alarming pattern and practice of willfully and egregiously sampling sound recordings of others without consent or permission,” reported the Billboard.
The alleged illegal sample is used at the beginning of the song as a voice says “My soul cries out, ‘Hallelujah’ And I thank God for saving me I, I thank God.”
“Hallelujah (Thank You, Jesus) Hallelujah (Yes) Hallelujah…” another sample is used in the latter part of the track.
“‘Come to Life’ is approximately five minutes and ten seconds (5:10) in length,” Moten wrote.
“Approximately one minute and ten seconds (1:10) of this sound recording is sampled directly from Plaintiff’s sermon.”
“Consequently, no twenty percent (20%) of the entire sound recording ‘Come to Life’ is comprised of unauthorized, unlicensed samples of the Sermon. Defendants willfully and without the permission or consent of Plaintiff extensively sampled portions of the Sermon.”
The Plaintiff thereon alleged that “Defendants knowingly transferred or caused to be transferred, directly or indirectly, the sounds recorded and owned by Plaintiff when Defendants wrongfully and without a license or permission sampled from this sound recording in ‘Come to Life’. Defendants knowingly produced, manufactured, distributed, and sold the sound recording of ‘Come to Life’ with knowledge that the recording contained unauthorized samples of the Sermon. Defendant’s wrongful actions have caused Plaintiff substantial damages.”
The Plaintiff also alleged that “[i]n a violation of statutory and common law, Defendants have wrongfully used and exploited Plaintiff’s sound recording, production, and other property rights and unjustly reaped tremendous financial and other benefits in violation of Plaintiff’s legal rights and under circumstances where Defendants have been unjustly enriched by wrongfully deriving profit and other benefits from their wrongful conduct.”
The Plaintiff laid down three claims for relief. The first claim deals with the alleged violation of U.S. Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. §§ 101, et seq.). The second claim deals with the alleged unjust enrichment/quantum meruit. The third claim deals with the alleged conversion.
In its prayer for relief, the Plaintiff requested the court for all actual, direct, indirect, incidental, and consequential damages; attorney’s fees, costs, and pre- and post-judgment interest at the highest rate allowable by law; and for such other and further relief, both at law and in equity, to which Plaintiff may be justly entitled.
Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, has a history of copyright infringement issues stemming from sampling from artists without permission. Here are a few examples:
- In October 5, 2020, it was reported that Kanye West settled a copyright infringement lawsuit stemming from his sampling a child’s prayer in the song “Ultralight Beam,” which was released as part of 2016’s The Life of Pablo.
- In May 2016, it was reported that Kanye West was sued for Copyright infringement for unauthorized use of music from a Hungarian composer Gabor Presser over YeeZus song sample in “New Slaves.”
- In March 2017, it was reported that Kanye West settled the “New Slaves” sample copyright infringement $2.5 Million lawsuit out of court.
- In February 2018, it was reported that Kanye West and Solange were sued for alleged copyright infringement by artist Prince Phillip Mitchell who claimed that West and Knowles illegally sampled his track “If We Can’t Be Lovers.”
- In March of 2012, it was reported that Jay-Z and Kanye West settled a copyright infringement lawsuit over their song “The Joy” from Watch The Throne. They were sued by Syl Johnson for using an unauthorized sample of his song “Different Strokes.”
Judging from the wins in these cases, its easy to see how protecting your intellectual property not only pays off, but gives you an ability to go after your rights no matter the size of your infringers. If you’re serious about protecting your IP or understanding where to start, let us know.