1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Kanye West and Jay-Z settle Syl Johnson's lawsuit

Kanye West and Jay-Z look
happy (?) with the settlement
A few months ago this Blog had reported news of a lawsuit filed by soul singer Syl Johnson before US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division against rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West.

The singer had claimed that the hip-hop duo's 2011 song The Joy was a plagiarism of his 1967 track Different Strokes.

According to Johnson, Kanye West had failed to obtain permission to use an excerpt of Different Strokes for his 2010 record My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Therefore, at that time no sampling of Syl Johnson's song had been included.

In August 2011, West and Jay-Z released new album Watch The Throne, which includes The Joy
In October last, when filing suit against the duo plus Rock-A-Fella Records, UMG and Def Jam, Johnson had asked the Court to order a full accounting from defendants arising out of the sales and publishing activities relating to any of his rights, as well as punitive damages for the alleged sample usage.
Yesterday music magazine Rolling Stone reported that the parties have agreed to settle the federal lawsuit. As always happens, the details of the settlement have not been made public. However, those UK-based readers of this Blog who fancy both hip-hop music and copyright may be interested in appreciating for themselves whether this was an actual case of copyright infringement.
Jay-Z and Kanye Wset will tour the UK this summer in support of their joint album Watch The Throne.

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