Kanye West Label Is Being Sued Over Use Of King Crimson Sample

King Crimson
Kanye West: David Shankbone (Wikimedia Commons)/ In the Court of the Crimson King: Barry Godber, Robert Fripp, King Crimson, Island, Atlantic, E.G.
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Looks like rapper Kanye West and his label are in hot water, given that a lawsuit has been sparked against Universal Music Group (UMG) over a King Crimson sample that was used in a Kanye West song.

News of this lawsuit comes from Variety, which shares that there is a royalty related issue involving the Kanye West song “Power,” which sampled the King Crimson song “21st Century Schizoid Man.” Apparently, per the article, Declan Colgan Music Ltd (DCM), which own the mechanical rights (the original version of the track) to the King Crimson song “21st Century Schizoid Man,” claim that UMG has been underpaying on streaming royalties arising from the Kanye West song “Power.”

Per the lawsuit, rapper Kanye West originally sampled the King Crimson song without a license before uploading the track to YouTube in 2010. Eventually a conversation was had and paperwork was signed regarding royalties being paid out for sampling and use of the King Crimson song.

However, per this new lawsuit, DCM claim that UMG “has failed, and continues to fail, to comply with its royalty accounting obligations in respect of one mode of exploitation, namely the making available of the Power [r]ecording to consumers through so-called ‘streaming’ services.”

Below you will find a video for the Kanye West song “Power,” as well as the King Crimson song “21st Century Schizoid Man.”

King Crimson guitarist and keyboardist Robert Fripp commented on the lawsuit via the following social media post:

This is not the first time that rapper Kanye West has found himself in hot water over copyright issues. Just this past March, an album cover artist spoke on social media about how some art of theirs had been stolen by rapper Kanye West and/or his team.

The artist shared an image of said artwork they created, alongside a very similar image that appears in the Kanye West music video for “Hurricane.” You can read more about this story, as well as see the two images compared, by following the link below.

Album Cover Artist Who Has Worked With Behemoth Claims Kanye West Team Has Plagiarized Their Art


Words by: Michael Pementel