Kanye West: Rapper Ye sued by Donna Summer’s estate over copyright

(BBC) Kanye West is being sued by Donna Summer’s estate for allegedly using an uncleared sample of her music on his new album.

Court documents show that the Queen of Disco’s estate denied Kanye’s request to sample the 1977 hit I Feel Love.

West has become a controversial figure in recent years – comments he has made have been heavily criticised as far right or antisemitic.

The rapper has not yet commented on the legal action taken by Summer’s estate.

A sample of I Feel Love was used on his track Good (Don’t Die).

The song appeared on his album Vultures 1 earlier this month, but has since been removed from streaming services.

An attorney for Summer’s estate claims an entity called Alien Music, representing West, approached him on 31 January, a week before the release of the rapper’s album, to request clearance to sample the disco hit.

The request was denied as the estate said there could be a “potential degradation to Summer’s legacy” as “West is known as a controversial public figure whose conduct has led numerous brands and business partners to disassociate from him”.

The attorney claims the rapper attempted to use a soundalike of the song instead of the original to get around the denied request, but he says it is still copyright infringement.

Donna Summer

Following the release of the album, Summer’s estate says it contacted streaming services requesting the song be removed.

The album was removed a few days later and re-uploaded without the track. However, the lawsuit claims the song has harmed the estate as it was streamed millions of times.

The lawsuit, filed against the 46-year-old rapper, his record label and collaborator Ty Dolla $ign, is asking for damages and an injunction to block further distribution of the song.

The singer, who died of lung cancer in 2012, is best known for hits including Love to Love You Baby and Hot Stuff.

The BBC has also asked Giorgio Moroder, who co-write and produced I Feel Love, for comment on the case.

Summer is not the only artist to recently deny sample requests by Kanye.

Ozzy Osbourne

Earlier in February, Ozzy Osbourne blocked Kanye from sampling a 1983 live version of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man on his Vultures 1 album.

Despite denying the request, Kanye allegedly used a sample of the song during a listening party for the new album.

However, the sample was not used in the final version of his song, Carnival which debuted at number one on the US Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart.

The rock artist, 75, said he denied the request as he believed Kanye was “an anti-Semite”.

In an interview after the release of the track, Osbourne’s wife, TV personality Sharon Osbourne said that in recent times Kanye “represents hate”.

Kanye, now known as Ye, was banned from Twitter in December 2022 over offensive tweets. He was restored on the account eight months later.

Following anti-Semitic comments on social media, Adidas, who produce the US rapper’s Yeezy trainers, cut ties with him.

The singer-songwriter first rose to fame in 2004 and has sold 160 million records since.

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