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Donna Summer's Estate Sues Kanye West Over 'I Feel Love' Interpolation

The disco queen's estate had previously refused to authorize a sample for West's track 'Good (Don't Die).'

kanye
Source: MEGA

West's song 'Good (Don't Die)' contains an interpolation of Donna Summer's signature hit 'I Feel Love.'

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After repeatedly expressing its displeasure over Kanye West’s sampling of Donna Summer’s 1977 hit “I Feel Love” on his song “Good (Don’t Die),” the estate of the late disco queen has now filed suit for copyright infringement.

The song was first previewed during one of West’s many pre-release listening parties for the long-delayed Vultures 1, his collaborative album with Ty Dolla $ign which was finally released on Feb. 10. The Summer estate says it refused to grant West permission to use the sample, only for the song snippet to appear in a re-recorded interpolation.

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Source: MEGA

The release of West's 'Vultures 1' has generated no shortage of controversy and complaints, even prior to today's lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed in California court on Feb. 27, claims that a company associated with West reached out to the estate to ask permission for the sample. The filing, which was obtained by Q, states: “In considering Defendants’ request, the Summer Estate not only considered the immense commercial value of the ‘I Feel Love’ composition, but also the potential degradation to Summer’s legacy. West is known as a controversial public figure whose conduct has led numerous brands and business partners to disassociate from him.”

After denying West’s request, the estate says: ”In the face of this rejection, Defendants arrogantly and unilaterally decided they would simply steal 'I Feel Love' and use it without permission. In their song ‘Good (Don’t Die),’ Defendants re-recorded almost verbatim the key, memorable portions of Summer's iconic song, used it as the hook for their own song, and released it to the public knowing they had tried and failed to secure legal permission from its rightful owners and had no legal right to do so.”

The lawsuit seeks "compensatory damages, maximum statutory damages, attorneys' fees, and disgorgement of any profits earned by West...from his unauthorized use of one of Summer's and, indeed, one of dance music's most influential and valuable songs."

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donna summer
Source: MEGA

The estate of the late Donna Summer had refused West's request to sample the song.

The song was greyed-out on many streaming services after the album was released, at least temporarily, due to the estate’s initial objections. Puzzlingly, it later reappeared on Spotify on Feb. 24 with new credits, which listed the artist as “RichYeRich.” As of this writing, the song is currently unavailable on Apple Music, though it appears to still be playable on Spotify.

Summer’s estate was not the only party unhappy with seeing their copyrighted material appear on West’s album. Early previews of the album also featured a sample of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” on the song “Carnival,” prompting frontman Ozzy Osbourne to refuse a sample request and issue a statement blasting West, noting his history of blatantly antisemitic remarks.

“Kanye West asked permission to sample a section of a 1983 live performance of ‘Iron Man’ from the Us Festival without vocals & was refused permission because he is an antisemite and has caused untold heartache to many,” Osbourne posted. “He went ahead and used the sample anyway at his album listening party last night. I want no association with this man!”

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Additionally, Vultures 1 temporarily disappeared from Apple Music on Feb. 15 after distribution company FUGA claimed that it had refused to distribute the album, only to find that someone working with West had uploaded the album to streaming services using FUGA’s platform anyway.

"On Friday, February 9, 2024, a long-standing FUGA client delivered the album Vultures 1 through the platform's automated processes, violating our service agreement,” the company said on Feb. 15. “Therefore, FUGA is actively working with its DSP partners and the client to remove Vultures 1 from our systems.”

Despite the endless delays and considerable controversy associated with the album’s release — and the considerable controversy that has followed West ever since he unleashed a series of antisemitic comments in 2022 — the album nonetheless debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart upon its release.

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