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Kanye West, Ty Dolla $ign Sued By Donna Summer Estate Over ‘Vultures 1’ Sample

Donna Summer estate sues Kanye West over unauthorized sample on Vultures 1 album

Photo Credit: grilled cheese / CC by 2.0

The Donna Summer estate has sued rappers Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign for the unauthorized use of her song “I Feel Love” on the Vultures 1 album.

A sample of the 1977 song appears in the Kanye/Ty Dolla $ign song “Good (Don’t Die),” which the Donna Summer estate says was used without permission. “Kanye West… asked permission to use Donna Summer’s song ‘I Feel Love,’ he was denied, he changed the words, had someone re-sing it or used AI but it’s ‘I Feel Love’—copyright infringement!” a statement from the estate appeared on Instagram.

Both Ozzy Osbourne and Nicki Minaj took to social media to say they refused to authorize samples of their works on the album. Ozzy’s protest came after a sample of “Iron Man” was used without his permission during a listening party for the album.

Now the Donna Summer estate has taken to the courts with a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement. The suit was filed in a federal court in Los Angeles by Donna Summer’s husband, Bruce Sudano as the executor of the estate. Donna Summer passed away at age 63 in 2012. The suit names Kanye West, Ty Dolla $ign, Yeezy Record Label, LLC, YZY Snd, and 10 Does as defendants.

Sudano says in January 2024 someone from Alien Music reached out on behalf of the rappers to confirm its ownership of the “I Feel Love” composition and to request permission for sampling. “In considering the Defendant’s request, the Summer estate not only considered the immense commercial value of the composition, but also the potential degradation to Summer’s legacy,” the lawsuit reads.

“West is known as a controversial public figure whose conduct has led numerous brands and business partners to disassociate from him,” the suit continues. The estate denied permission to sample in early February, which it defined as “an absolute prohibition against any licensee (or other recording artist) covering I FEEL LOVE from using a Donna Summer ‘soundalike’ or using the original Donna Summer recording.”

The Vultures 1 album was released to the public on February 10, with the “Good (Don’t Die)” track featuring the song. “In the face of these repeated denials, West and Co-Defendants attempted to get around this roadblock by instead making an unauthorized interpolation,” the lawsuit alleges. The track has since been removed from Spotify and other major DSPs at the request of the Summer estate.

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