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News blog9 November 2022

Kanye West and Drake sued for infringement – Mariah Carey lawsuit dropped




Kanye West – the rapper now known as Ye – is once again making the headlines, this time for an alleged case of copyright infringement.

It was indeed reported this week that the rapper is being sued in New York by Phase One Network Inc, a company owning the rights to the works of Boogie Down Productions. According to the claimant, West’s song “Life of the Party” includes an “exact reproduction” of parts of Boogie Down’s song “South Bronx”, which was used without permission.

According to the information included in the lawsuit, it seems that West’s team initially lodged a licence request to use samples of “South Bronx” in the song “Life of the Party”; however, the parties never reached an agreement and the rapper went forward with using the sample anyway.

It is not the first time that West has been sued for unauthorised sampling. In this new lawsuit, Phase One is requesting damages as well as for West to immediately cease using the sample.



West is not the only rapper being sued in New York this week. Condé Nast, the publisher of iconic magazine Vogue, has lodged a $4 million lawsuit against rappers Drake and 21 Savage.

This time, the lawsuit is about trade mark infringement, as Drake and 21 Savage are accused of having used the Vogue name and trade mark without consent, to promote their new album “Her Loss”.

As part of their promotional campaign, the rappers released a fake Vogue cover on which they both appear, going as far as tweeting that this new issue would be hitting the newsstands and thanking Anna Wintour for her “love and support”. The fake cover went viral on social media, while fake posters were put out in New York and entire mock magazines were handed out to the public, superimposing promotional material and images of Anna Wintour on Vogue’s October issue.

Condé Nast initially sent a cease-and-desist letter to both rappers, demanding that they stop the “unauthorized use of the Vogue trademark by removing the Instagram post, ceasing any distribution of this ‘magazine,’ and issuing a public statement clarifying that this was not an actual cover of Vogue”. As the letter was ignored, Condé Nast has now filed a lawsuit, requiring $4 million in damages as well as the end of all infringing activities.



Good news for Christmas enthusiasts: the $20 million lawsuit lodged earlier this year against Mariah Carey over her classic 1994 hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You” was dropped last week, just in time for the start of the holiday season.

As we reported in June, the lawsuit was – noticeably – not about similarities in the music (lyrics, melody), but was exclusively focused on the title “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, which the plaintiff had been using for a song published 5 years prior.

It was now reported that the plaintiff filed to dismiss the case in its entirety. This lawsuit was not very likely to succeed from the beginning – on the one hand, because song titles are usually not protectable by copyright, and on the other hand, because (as noted by Rolling Stone) there are in this particular case 177 songs bearing the exact same title, including many which were released way before the plaintiff’s own work.





Publication date
9 November 2022