Vultures 1:Donna Summer’s estate sues Kanye West and Ty Dolla Sign for unauthorized interpolation of ‘I Feel Love’

The estate of Donna Summer filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against rappers Kanye West (also known as Ye) and Ty Dolla $ign.
The lawsuit alleges that they illegally used her 1977 song “I Feel Love” in their recent collaboration titled “Good (Don’t Die) which id on the "Vultures 1" album

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The legendary disco queen Donna Summer’s estate has taken legal action against hip-hop heavyweights Kanye West and Ty Dolla Sign. The lawsuit alleges an unauthorized interpolation of Summer’s iconic track, “I Feel Love,” in their collaborative project, Vultures 1.

The dispute

In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, the estate claims that Kanye West (now professionally known as Ye) and Ty Dolla Sign (whose real name is Tyrone William Griffin, Jr.) brazenly incorporated portions of “I Feel Love” without obtaining proper permission. The estate asserts that explicit denial was given for the use of the 1977 disco hit, yet the rappers proceeded to sample it anyway.

The culprit: “Good (Don’t Die)”

The contested track, titled “Good (Don’t Die),” appears on the duo’s collaborative album, Vultures 1. Summer’s husband, Bruce Sudano, serves as the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. The court filing accuses West and Ty Dolla Sign of arrogance and unilateral decision-making when they chose to include the instantly recognizable elements of “I Feel Love.”

A history of denial

The estate’s refusal to grant permission was grounded in a desire to distance themselves from West’s controversial history. The musicians’ audacity to proceed despite the denial underscores their determination to weave Summer’s disco magic into their own soundscapes.

The failed request

An entity known as “Alien Music” initially requested excerpts from “I Feel Love” on behalf of Kanye West. The urgency was evident—the final song was slated for release on February 9. However, the estate rejected the request in writing and over the phone, not once but twice. Universal Music Enterprises also denied a subsequent attempt for usage.

Seeking justice

Lawyers representing the estate argue in the lawsuit that it encompasses more than just the "Defendants' simple negligence in paying the rightful licensing fee." They assert that it pertains to safeguarding an artist's control over the presentation of their work and preventing its unauthorized use, while also safeguarding Donna Summer’s musical heritage and one of the most significant and pioneering songs in popular music history.

The estate seeks $150,000 for each act of infringement. Their legal pursuit aims to protect Donna Summer’s musical legacy and uphold the integrity of her groundbreaking work.

Donna Summer’s influence reverberates through generations, and her estate remains steadfast in safeguarding her artistic contributions. As the legal battle unfolds, fans and music enthusiasts watch closely, hoping that justice will prevail.

The impact of "Vultures 1" by Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign

The collaborative album "Vultures 1" by Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign has stirred both acclaim and controversy.

Controversies:

  • Sample clearance dispute: The song "Carnival" faced controversy due to Ozzy Osbourne refusing to clear its sample of a live performance version of "Iron Man". The sample was eventually replaced with an interpolation from "Hell of a Life" by Kanye West.
  • Messy rollout: The album's release was marred by a messy rollout, including delays and removal from digital streaming platforms during the tracking week. Despite these challenges, the album still debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, moving 148,000 equivalent album units.
  • Kanye's controversial comments: Kanye West's recent controversies, such as wearing a "White Lives Matter" shirt and making antisemitic comments, have impacted his public image. However, the largely favorable response from fans suggests that his comeback is still strong.

Performance:

  • Billboard 200 Debut: "Vultures 1" debuted atop the Billboard 200. For Kanye, it's his 11th No. 1 album, despite being his lowest opening week in terms of sales.
  • Hot 100 Chart: All 16 tracks from the album landed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with "Carnival" leading the way at No. 3. The track seems poised to become the album's breakout hit.

While controversies surround the album, its commercial success and positive reception indicate that both artists have reason to celebrate

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