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As first reported by Billboard, a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in New York claims West’s song “Flowers” unlawfully samples the 1986 club hit “Move Your Body” (a.k.a. “The House Music Anthem”). According to the suit, the Marshall Jefferson track is “repeated at least 22 times throughout” West’s song.
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“West advocates for artists’ rights with one hand, yet has no shame in taking away rights from another artist with the other,” the filing says, later calling the use of the sample “willful and deliberate,” claiming representatives for West met with Jefferson’s publisher, Ultra International Music Publishing, and admitted sampling the tune without obtaining proper clearance beforehand. “Defendants know and have been informed that they do not possess a license to utilize the Composition in the Unauthorized Work, and yet continue to willfully infringe in blatant disregard of UIMP’s rights of ownership,” the suit says.
Also named in the lawsuit is Alex Klein, co-creator of the Stem Player music device, on which West released Donda 2, as well as ten unidentified individuals referred to only as “Does 1-10.” According to Billboard, West previously claimed to have sold 11,000 Stem Players, which retailed at $200 each — generating an estimated $2.2 million in revenue.
The suit is the second time West has been accused of using unauthorized samples on Donda 2. In May, West was sued by Bishop David P. Moten, who claimed a significant portion of the song “Come to Life” was lifted from a sermon he delivered at a Victoria, Texas church in 2011. A resolution to that lawsuit has yet to be announced. In 2019, Ronald Oslin Bobb-Semple sued West and several collaborators after his voice was unlawfully sampled on the Kids See Ghosts track “Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2).” That lawsuit was settled in January of last year.
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