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Ye Sued for Donda 2, Chicago House Musician Marshall Jefferson Claims ‘Illegal Use of Sample’

Kanye West, who legally changed his name to Ye last year, is surrounded by another lawsuit after his bitter divorce from Kim K. Now, the rapper and producer, has been sued for allegedly sampling a song by musician Marshall Jefferson without prior permission.  It is alleged that the Chi-town home hero used Jefferson’s 1986 hit “Move Your Body” on the track “Flowers” without proper compensation.

Unauthorised Use of Jefferson’s Song

On Wednesday (June 29), a U.S. District Court in New York received a claim stating that Kanye West’s Donda 2 album included an unauthorized sample of a song by Chicago House musician Marshall Jefferson. It is alleged that the rapper used Jefferson’s 1986 hit “Move Your Body” on the track “Flowers” without proper compensation.

Mentioned in court documents (available here) is a claim from Ye in February of having made more than $2 million in Stem Player sales in a single day. “Unfortunately, and contrary to his claimed interest in the proper compensation and fair treatment of all artists, West, has not shared his success with at least one well know artist and writer whose work he sampled and exploited without authorization or compensation in the creation of Donda 2,” the suit—which also names Yeezy Tech, Alex Klein, and Kano Computing—states.

The lawsuit was filed through Ultra International Music Publishing (UIMP), which houses Jefferson’s catalogue.  UIMP alleges that “Flowers” from West’s album “Donda 2” includes a sample from Jefferson’s 1986 dance song “Move Your Body” that is repeated at least 22 times. As per the complaint, the company also alleges that “West was aware” of his “unlicensed sampling” of “The House Music Anthem.”

The claim states that Ye “continued to willfully infringe in blatant disregard of UIMP’s rights of ownership.” Kanye’s stem player co-creator Alex Klein, who is also tagged in the legal document, helped build the layout for the inventive music device used in Donda 2‘s exclusive release. The album, named after West’s late mother, has yet to be made available on Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube.

Similar Lawsuits Against Kanye…

This is not the first time that Kanye West is facing a lawsuit like this. Most recently in May, Kanye West was sued by a pastor named Bishop David Paul Moten for sampling a speech of his on Donda’s “Come To Life.” In 2019, Ye was sued for the use of a young girl’s voice on The Life of Pablo‘s “Ultralight Beam.”

Donda 2 is Ye’s eleventh studio album and was exclusively released on the Stem Player, with four songs that came up in February. Additional songs were later included in updates. The album’s singles “Eazy” and “City of Gods”, both charted inside the top 50 of the US Billboard Hot 100. The album has since remained exclusive to the device, which goes for $200 and gives users a uniquely immersive and participatory listening experience.

In the present lawsuit, Jefferson’s publishing company is claiming compensation for damages, a cease in distribution and a trial by jury.  Ye’s representative did not respond to a request for comment, nor did his label Universal Music Group (UMG.AS), which is not a party to the suit.
I am Mallika Singh, a lawyer and writer by profession. Writing gives me a sense of freedom and independence. I am a keen observer and an ardent reader. When not at work, you can find me at the stable. Horse riding is another passion that keeps me going.


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