A pastor in Texas is suing Kanye West for copyright infringement over an allegedly unauthorized sample of a recorded sermon he delivered!
At issue is roughly 20% of Ye’s Come To Life, which appeared on Donda and was a minor hit when it was first released, debuting at number 77 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in September of last year. Of course, the album itself was a major hit, and Ye is world-famous, so pretty much anything he releases is going to get a lot of attention!
On Tuesday, Bishop David Paul Moten filed a lawsuit in a federal courthouse in Dallas alleging that Ye illegally and extensively sampled his one of his sermons at both the beginning and the end of Come To Life.
In Bishop Moten’s filing, the man of God claims Ye and his co-defendants have “demonstrated an alarming pattern” of illegally sampling sound tracks and others’ recordings. Per Billboard, the claimant wrote in the court docs:
“Defendants willfully and without the permission or consent of Plaintiff extensively sampled portions of the Sermon. 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.”
Moten’s suit also focuses specifically on how much of Come To Life is filled with the sermon sample. Adding up the total sample from the song, the plaintiff claims:
“‘Come to Life’ is approximately five minutes and ten seconds (5:10) in length. Approximately one minute and ten seconds (1:10) of this sound recording is sampled directly from Plaintiff’s sermon.”
At the beginning of the song in question, a voice can be heard saying:
“My soul cries out, ‘Hallelujah’ And I thank God for saving me I, I thank God.”
Later in track, the same recording is used with this refrain added, as well:
“Hallelujah (Thank You, Jesus) Hallelujah (Yes) Hallelujah…”
You can hear the Jesus Walks performer’s full song here:
BTW, Moten’s legal filing refers to multiple “defendants” in addition to Ye. Per TMZ, the pastor is also suing UMG Recordings, Def Jam Recordings, and G.O.O.D Music in the case. If you’re curious, you can read the court filing HERE.
It’ll be interesting to see how this case fares. In 2005, a federal appeals court weighed in on another audio sampling suit with a very blunt take that all sounds used in music tracks like this must be legally licensed. At the time, the appeals court admonished music producers to “get a license, or do not sample.”
Guess we’ll see what ends up happening with this lawsuit as it works its way through court…
[Image via WENN]