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Donna Summer Estate Sues Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign Over ‘Unauthorized Interpolation’

The Donna Summer estate has filed a lawsuit against Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign over an unauthorized interpolation of one of her songs.

via People:

According to documents obtained by PEOPLE, the estate for the late pop icon filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in California federal court on Tuesday against the two rappers, alleging Summer’s “I Feel Love” was used without permission on their track “Good (Don’t Die)” off their collaborative project as ¥$, Vultures 1.

The Queen of Disco’s husband, Bruce Sudano, is cited as the lead plaintiff in the suit, per the filing. It names both West, 46, now known professionally as Ye, and Ty Dolla $ign, 41, whose real name is Tyrone William Griffin, Jr. 

Summer’s estate alleges in the filing that “permission was explicitly denied” over the use of the singer’s 1977 song. “Despite this denial, Defendants shamelessly used instantly recognizable portions of Summer’s hit song,” the documents state.

The filing alleges that the musicians “arrogantly and unilaterally decided they would simply steal” the song when their request was denied by the estate because they “wanted no association with West’s controversial history.”

PEOPLE reached out to reps to both the Summer estate and West and Ty Dolla $ign. Summer’s estate had no comment and no response was received by reps for West and Ty Dolla $ign by the time of publishing.

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The plaintiff claims in the documents that an entity known as “Alien Music” requested the use of excerpts from “I Feel Love” on West’s behalf in late January. According to the filing, Alien Music asked “for expedited review” because the final song was set for release on Feb. 9, which seemed to indicate the rappers had “already completed and readied their song for release without obtaining permission or even notifying the Summer Estate of their use.”

By Feb. 3, the request was denied in both writing and over the phone two times, according to the documents, and another attempt for usage was also made to Universal Music Enterprises, which was also denied.

Per the filing, the estate seeks $150,000 for each act of infringement.

Attorneys for the estate claim in the suit that it is about more than the “Defendants’ mere failure to pay the appropriate licensing fee.” They state it is about both an artist’s right to how their work is represented and prevented from being stolen, as well as “about protecting Donna Summer’s own musical legacy and one of popular music’s most influential and ground-breaking songs.”

“Good (Don’t Die)” noticeably features an interpolation of the disco classic, with a woman’s voice singing altered lyrics to its melody.

The song dropped on Feb. 10 upon the release of Ye and Ty Dolla $ign’s Vultures 1, their first album together as the joint project ¥$.

The day that the record was released, Sudano, 75, posted on X (formerly Twitter) about the appearance of “I Feel Love” on one of the tracks. He wrote in a post, “@kanyewest 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!!!”

Vultures 1, which was first teased in late 2023, was officially released after multiple delays and shifting release dates.

Kanye knows better.

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