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Donna Summer's estate sues Ye and Ty Dolla $ign for allegedly sampling 'I Feel Love' without permission

Donna Summer's estate sues Ye and Ty Dolla $ign for allegedly sampling 'I Feel Love' without permission

The estate claimed in a new copyright infringement suit that it denied the rappers' request because it wanted "no association with West’s controversial history."

Donna Summer’s estate is suing Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, and Ty Dolla $ign, alleging that they illegally sampled her 1977 disco classic “I Feel Love” on their recently released track “Good (Don’t Die).”

The copyright infringement lawsuit, obtained by EW, was filed in Los Angeles federal court by the late singer’s husband and estate executor, Bruce Sudano, on Tuesday and accuses the rappers of “shamelessly” using “instantly recognizable portions” of Summer’s song despite being “explicitly denied” permission to do so by the estate.

According to the complaint, the estate received a clearance request in January from Alien Music on behalf of Ye and Ty Dolla $ign to use excerpts of “I Feel Love” on their track. “Summer’s estate, however, wanted no association with West’s controversial history and specifically rejected West’s proposed use of Summer’s ‘I Feel Love,’” it reads. “In the face of this rejection, Defendants arrogantly and unilaterally decided they would simply steal ‘I Feel Love’ and use it without permission.”

<p>Michael Putland/Getty, Edward Berthelot/GC Images, Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic</p> Donna Summer; Ye; Ty Dolla $ign

Michael Putland/Getty, Edward Berthelot/GC Images, Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Donna Summer; Ye; Ty Dolla $ign

The estate alleges in the court documents that the defendants then “attempted to get around this roadblock by instead making an unauthorized interpolation,” claiming that they lifted the original track's “iconic melody as the hook for their infringing song and essentially re-recorded almost verbatim key, instantly recognizable portions of ‘I Feel Love’ using a singer soundalike to Summer, with slight changes to the lyrics (also done without permission).”

Listeners "instantly recognized" that the use of "I Feel Love" on "Good (Don't Die)" — from the rappers' new album, Vultures 1 — was a "blatant rip-off," the lawsuit claims. It adds that the track was “immediately removed” from streaming platforms, distributors, and retailers like Spotify and Apple Music at the request of the song’s co-owners and Summer’s estate.

The suit also claims that Ye and Ty Dolla $ign have “publicly performed the infringing song” at their concerts and listening party events, saying, “The versions performed live by West and Ty Dolla $ign, which were captured and uploaded to YouTube, contained an actual recorded sample of the ‘I Feel Love’ master recording.” 

The estate is demanding a trial by jury and seeking “compensatory damages, maximum statutory damages, attorneys’ fees, and disgorgement of any profits earned by West and his Co-Defendants from their unauthorized use” of Summer’s song, which is widely considered one of the greatest disco hits of all time.

Representatives for Ye, Ty Dolla $ign, and Summer's estate did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.

Summer’s is not the only estate that has spoken out against the pair for allegedly lifting from their catalog without permission. A day before the album’s release, Ozzy Osbourne posted on social media that Ye had asked to sample Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” on their song “Carnival” but that he denied it because the rapper "has caused untold heartache to many.” The sample was later replaced before the album's release, reports Rolling Stone.

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