Kanye West Sued for Copyright Infringement, Again

Steven T. Lowe

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Kanye West released his album titled “Donda 2” in February 2022 exclusively on the Stem Player MP3 platform. The album was very successful, bringing in over $2.2 million in sales in just one day. On June 29, 2022, Ultra International Music Publishing LLC (UIMP) filed a lawsuit against Kanye West for the unauthorized use of “samples” (i.e., snippets of recordings) of another artist’s work in the Kanye West recording entitled “Flowers” on the Donda 2 album.

UIMP represents Chicago artist Marshall Jefferson who, in 1986, wrote an iconic song called “Move Your Body,” which is also known as “The House Music Anthem.” The song was a hit in the Chicago club scene in the ’80s and was later released by a record label called Trax Records. Kanye West’s song “Flowers” uses snippets of Marshall Jefferson’s song 22 times. Kanye West was obviously aware that his use of the sample was unauthorized and unpaid for. Thus, UIMP filed suit for intentional copyright infringement in the Southern District of New York, seeking $150,000 in statutory damages per infringement under the Copyright Act. 

Kanye West has been sued multiple times for copyright infringement, including, but not limited to, the case TufAmerica, Inc. v. WB Music Corp., where West was accused of sampling Eddie Bo’s “Hook & Sling” in his songs without authorization, and the case of Green v. West in which Kanye sampled a child’s voice with authorization of the child’s biological mother, but without the authorization of the child’s adoptive parents. Kanye West’s motion to dismiss was granted in the TufAmerica case because the alleged infringing sampled utterance was of the singular word “oh,” which is insufficient to qualify for copyright protection. The parties reached a settlement agreement in the Green v. West case.

Ultra International Music Publishing is represented by Bradley James Mullins and Christine Lepera of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP.

Kanye West et al is represented by Justin Albano MacLean of Greenberg Traurig P.A., Taylor Dougherty of Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, and Benjamin Ely Marks of Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP.

The case is Ultra International Music Publishing LLC v. Kanye West et al., case number 1:22-cv-05560, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

* Lowe & Associates (“The Firm”) is a boutique entertainment and business law firm located in Beverly Hills, California. The firm has extensive experience handling cases involving copyright infringement, having provided top-quality legal services to its clients since 1991. The Firm is recognized for its many achievements, including successfully litigating many high-profile cases.

Find us at our website at www.LoweLaw.com.