Back in February, Kanye West released his eleventh album Donda 2 just six months after he dropped Donda which topped the albums chart to be his tenth No. 1 release. Donda 2 was a unique project as Kanye opted to drop it exclusively on his Stem Player website, making it only available to those who purchase the Stem Player device. It was uploaded with 16 songs and features from Future, Migos, Jack Harlow, the late XXTENTACION, Vory, Alicia Keys, Fivio Foreign, Soulja Boy, Sean Leon, Baby Keem, Travis Scott, and Don Toliver. Now, four months later, one of the album’s songs has earned Kanye West a lawsuit.
According to Billboard, a complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in New York on Wednesday that accused Kanye of wrongfully sampling Marshall Jefferson’s 1986 house track “Move Your Body,” aka “The House Music Anthem,” on “Flowers” from Donda 2 without permission or providing compensation. The filing says the sample was used “at least 22 times throughout” the song.
The complaint was filed by attorneys Christine Lepera and Bradley J. Mullins of the firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp and brought forth by Jefferson’s publisher Ultra International Music Publishing (UMP). “Defendants’ conduct is willful and deliberate,” the complaint reads. “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.”
As a result, UMP is requesting a “preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining and restraining Defendants” and their associates from using the “Move Your Body” sample as well profits and damages in an amount to be determined at trial. Alternatively, they will seek statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement, attorneys’ fees and the full cost of the lawsuit, and prejudgement interest.
Alex Klein, who co-created the Stem Player, was also named in the complaint as was Klein’s company Kano Computing Limited.