As Billboard reports, a complaint was brought forward in a New York federal court on Wednesday (June 29) by Chicago house musician Marshall Jefferson‘s publisher, Ultra International Music Publishing (UIMP).
According to the suit, Ye sampled Jefferson’s 1986 house song ‘Move Your Body’ (also known as ‘House Music Anthem’) on ‘Flowers’ without permission or compensation. A sample of ‘Move Your Body’, UIMP allege, is “repeated at least 22 times” throughout ‘Flowers’.
According to the suit, West acknowledged to both Jefferson and UIMP that he had sampled the song without permission. “Despite this acknowledgement, West has not ceased distribution of ‘Flowers.’ Defendants’ conduct is willful and deliberate,” the filing 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.”
UIMP are seeking for West to cease distribution of ‘Flowers’, profits and damages of an amount to be either determined at trial – or the maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement – along with legal fees and other associated costs.
Speaking to Billboard, Jefferson said that while his music has “been sampled thousands of times”, there was “a right way and a wrong way to go about it”. He went on to express disappointment that West, “a Black artist” and “a fellow Chicagoan”, would sample his work without permission.
This is far from the first time Ye has gotten into legal trouble over uncleared samples. In May of this year, Texas pastor Bishop David Paul Moten sued the rapper, claiming that he sampled one of his sermons without permission on the ‘Donda’ track ‘Come To Life’. Ye was also sued for two of his ‘Yeezus’ tracks – ‘Bound 2’ in 2013 and ‘New Slaves’ in 2016 – over samples used on the songs. Both lawsuits were settled privately.
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