Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino has been sued for alleged copyright infringement over his 2018 hit single This is America.
Florida-based Emelike Nwosuocha (aka rapper Kidd Wes) claims elements of his song Made in America were copied by Gambino to create This is America.
This is America was named Song and Record of the Year at the 2019 Grammy Awards in 2018.
At the heart of Nwosuocha’s claim, filed in New York yesterday (May 6), is that there are allegedly “substantial similarities” between his song Made in America and Gambino’s This is America.
“Special,” adds the filing system, “the essential similarities between the two songs include almost identical, unique, rhythmic, lyrical and thematic compositional and performance content that is contained in the choir or” hook “sections – the middle pieces of both songs” .
Also named in the suit are Young Thug (Jefferey Lamar Williams), composer and producer Ludwig Emil Tomas Göransson, Kobalt Music, RCA Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Roc Nation Publishing, Warner Music Group and others.
Nwosuocha says he wrote his song and uploaded it to SoundCloud on September 11, 2016, and uploaded the music video to YouTube on November 9, 2016.
He also said he registered it with the US Copyright Office on May 24, 2017 before it was released as the lead single for his album, titled Eleven: The Junior Senior Year.
The submission, which you can read in full here, claims that the “distinctive flow” used by Glover in This is America, to which the claim adds, is the track’s “musical heart”, “unmistakably substantially similar, if not practically identical with the distinct and unique flow that Nwosuocha used in his own song Made in America.
In addition to what Nwosuocha considers the “substantially similar” and “unique flow” used in both songs, he also claims that “the lyrical theme, content and structure of the identically played choruses” are also “striking are similar.
Nwosuocha’s complaint further suggests that the similarities between the two tracks “are clearly audible to non-hearing public audiences”.
They are also “qualifiable and quantifiable from a scientific point of view,” and he recruited the musicologist Dr. Brent Swanson to analyze the two tracks.
“There are clear similarities in the melodic contour, in the rhythmic triplet flow in every performance and in the line-ups ‘Made in America’ and ‘This is America’, which are almost perfectly timed despite the different tempos.”
Dr. Brent Swanson, musicologist
Swanson is quoted in the file as saying that both the videos and the lyrics of the songs “examine issues such as gun violence and repression of African Americans and people of color by the police, the political establishment, conservative organizations (particularly the NRA and the GOP”), whites Nationalism (Charleston Shooting) and racist structures “in the United States”.
He adds: “There are clear similarities in the melodic contour, in the rhythmic triplet flow in every performance and in the line-ups“ Made in America ”and“ This is America ”, which are almost perfectly timed despite different tempos.
“Both also use rhythmic expressions in their performances. According to the authors, these similarities are unlikely to be accidental. “
Nwosuocha alleges that he has “suffered actual harm, including lost profits, lost opportunities and loss of goodwill” and that Glover and the other defendants have “benefited hundreds of millions of dollars.”
He says he is entitled to compensation, including the “substantial gains” from the track, and is calling for a lawsuit from the jury.
This case is the latest in a series of high profile copyright lawsuits filed against superstar artists in recent years.
Last month, BTS and Big Hit (HYBE) were sued for copyright infringement over the K-pop reality TV show I-Land.
Last August, Kendrick Lamar was sued by a musician named Terrance Hayes for copyright infringement over Lamar’s hit single Loyalty, released in 2017 and taken from his fourth album Damn.
That same month, a copyright infringement lawsuit against Lizzo (aka Melissa Jefferson) by three songwriters – Justin and Jeremiah Raisen and Justin ‘Yves’ Rothman – was dismissed by a judge in California.
In July 2020, pop-punk band Yellowcard dropped their $ 15 million copyright lawsuit against Juice Wrld over the late artist’s hit single, Lucid Dreams.
In June 2020, Travis Scott was charged with copyright infringement in a lawsuit brought by lawyer Richard Busch of Blurred Lines over his No. 1 US single, Highest in the Room.
Meanwhile, in March 2020, a California federal court overturned the verdict on Dark Horse’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Katy Perry, which would have found her, Capitol Records, and her employees liable for $ 2.8 million.
Perry’s victory followed Led Zeppelin’s victory over their long-running copyright battle for their classic 70s song Stairway to Heaven has resulted in a huge win for the British rock band and their publishing and record label partner Warner Music Group.Music business worldwide