Phase One Networks, the asset management company overseeing the catalog of Boogie Down Productions, has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Kanye West Rolling Stone reports.
The lawsuit obtained by the publication, alleges that “West sought licensing permissions for the ‘South Bronx’-sampling Donda track ‘Life of the Party,’ but later retracted his request only to utilize the recording anyway on Stemplayer.” Donda, including the track “Life of the Party” featuring André 3000, was released onto mainstream streaming services. However, it has not been reported in legal documents that the sample was used for Apple, Spotify, or Tidal uploads or if permission were given to use on the aforementioned sites.
“Phase One Network cites the replication of particular horn hits, melodic figures, and drum fills from the 1986 single created by KRS-One and DJ Scott La Rock as evidence of infringement,” the outlet reports.
The rapper filed a licensing request on July 15, 2021 and retracted it a few months later on Nov. 16, 2021. During that time both parties did not come to an agreement on whether the track could be used as a sample on the Donda LP. However, Ye released the song along with the rest of Donda on Aug. 29, 2021.
“By illegally incorporating South Bronx into the Infringing Track and authorizing the distribution of the Infringing Track through the Stemplayer and its associated website, all Defendants have allowed for the widespread distribution of the Infringing Track and have direct financial interest in the same,” the court documents read.
West, Stemplayer CEO and co-founder Alex Klein as well as product developers Kano Computing Limited have been named as defendants in the suit. Music labels G.O.O.D. Music, Def Jam Recordings, and Universal Music Group Recordings were also named in the suit. Ye is no longer signed to Def Jam but was at the time for the release of Donda.
“The KANO and STEM team were assured by Kanye and Yeezy that they would provide music with ‘all intellectual property rights, licenses and consents,'” a STEM company spokesman told Rolling Stone. “This was important to us, because STEM is built from the ground up to be a more fair and immersive medium than the current music business. On STEM, creators own and control their own work, pricing, rights, and distribution in full. We just heard about this claim, and we are investigating it now.”
KRS-One has not publicly commented on the suit.