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Kanye West settles over “New Slaves” sample out of court

Kanye has settled lawsuit out of court regarding $2.5 million copyright claim for “New Slaves.'

25th Mar 2017

Image Credit: Kanye West

Kanye West has settled a lawsuit out of court concerning a $2.5 million copyright claim for his track “New Slaves”, from his 2013 album ‘Yeezus’. The rapper and designer was caught up in a lawsuit sent by a Hungarian composer who argued that his 1969 song was used in the track’s outro without due permission.

The alleged song is called "Gyöngyhajú Lány" (“The Girl with Pearly Hair”), and was composed by Hungarian composer Gabor Presser. A sample from the song was used for nearly 90 seconds and was blended with finely tuned vocals offered by Frank Ocean.

According to recent reports, Presser stated that he found out about the sample in May 2013. He then received an email from Kanye’s lawyers where they said that Kanye’s team were willing to work out a deal for the sample within 48 hours. US news outlet Page 6 reports: “West’s attorneys were apparently concerned about the upcoming video projection performances of the New Composition scheduled for May 24, 2013. However, rather than cut a quick deal or jeopardize West’s continuing promotion, Presser claimed he allowed the rapper to use the song a second weekend -- provided they come to terms afterward. Instead, Presser alleged West’s attorneys sent him a $10,000 advance and asserted it obligated him “to consent to West’s unlawful use of the original composition.”

In the end, Presser did not take the advance and hence the copyright case has been ongoing in federal court since last May. In an effort to avoid similar legal difficulties surrounding producers turned rappers such as Pharrell in the aftermath of his ‘Blurred Lines’ track - West and Presser have reached a settlement for an undisclosed fee out of court. The use of any part of a song without the composer’s permission is copyright infringement and therefore liable to legal action.

Watch Kanye perform "New Slaves" on SNL

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