Kanye West Escapes Copyright Lawsuit Over Viral Video Of Thanksgiving Speech

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Kanye West is no longer facing a copyright lawsuit that claimed he illegally posted a 2021 viral video clip of a public speech about his then-wife Kim Kardashian, after his accuser dropped the case.

The embattled Donda rapper (now legally named Ye) has been repeatedly sued over the past two years, and he might soon be hit with new lawsuits over allegations of illegal sampling from Ozzy Osbourne and Donna Summer. But at least one such lawsuit is now in the rearview mirror.

More from Billboard

In court papers filed last week, videographer Elijah Graham agreed to voluntarily dismiss a lawsuit he filed against West last year. The case claimed the rapper had stolen Graham’s clip — which captured West speaking candidly about Kardashian and his kids while serving a Thanksgiving meal to homeless people on Skid Row in Los Angeles – and posted it to Instagram without permission.

“We’ve made mistakes. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve publicly done things that were not acceptable as a husband, but right now today, for whatever reason — I didn’t know I was going to be in front of this mic — but I’m here to change the narrative,” West says in the video, which went viral after he posted it.

In a complaint filed in October in Los Angeles federal court, Graham’s lawyers claimed that West’s post amounted to willful copyright infringement. But since filing the case, they have done little to move the case forward; in an order last month, the judge overseeing the lawsuit threatened to dismiss the case entirely because it was not being “prosecuted diligently.”

An attorney for Graham did not return a request for comment on why he was dropping the case. A rep for West did not immediately return a request for comment.

Graham’s case might be over, but Ye is still in legal hot water. He’s currently facing two separate lawsuits filed by employees at his Donda Academy over allegations of unsafe conditions and wrongful termination; he’s also defending against another copyright case that claims his “Life of the Party” illegally sampled a song by the pioneering rap group Boogie Down Productions.

And more copyright cases could be on the way. Last week, both Ozzy Osbourne and the estate of Donna Summer publicly accused West of using their songs without permission on his new album ‘Vultures 1’, even after they had specifically rejected his requests for licenses. In an interview with Billboard, Osbourne’s wife and manager Sharon said they had “been in touch with his team” about legal issues, while Summer’s estate directly alleged “copyright infringement.”

Best of Billboard