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Donna Summer’s Estate Reaches Settlement With Kanye West Over Alleged ‘Theft’ of ‘I Feel Love’

Donna Summer’s family has reached a settlement with Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign over their alleged “blatant theft” of Summer’s indelible disco hit “I Feel Love,” a new court filing obtained by Rolling Stone reveals.

In a status report filed Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles, a lawyer for Summer’s estate said the parties reached a “global settlement” on May 3 and started gathering signatures this week to officially resolve the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Summer’s estate in February. Details of the pending pact were not disclosed, so it wasn’t immediately clear if the song at the center of the dispute, “Good (Don’t Die),” might return in some form to streaming platforms. It was yanked from West and Ty Dolla $ign’s album Vultures 1 by Spotify and Apple Music just days after its release due to the legal dispute.

“Plaintiff anticipates that the final settlement agreement can be executed shortly, and soon thereafter, the parties will be in a position to file a stipulation for dismissal of the action in its entirety,” the new filing signed by estate lawyer Stanton L. Stein reads. “In the unlikely event the parties are unable to conclude the settlement by June 14, 2024, plaintiff intends to diligently prosecute the action against all defendants. As such, plaintiff requests that dismissal not be entered at this time.”

A spokesman for West did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. “I intend to protect Donna’s copyright,” Summer’s widower Bruce Sudano told Rolling Stone in February, days before filing the lawsuit as the estate’s executor.

In the 16-page complaint, Sudano accused West and Ty Dolla $ign, whose legal name is Tyrone Griffin Jr., of “arrogantly and unilaterally” deciding to “simply steal” Summer’s Seventies classic after they sought, but were “explicitly denied,” permission to use it. The complaint said the estate “wanted no association with West’s controversial history.”

“In the face of this rejection, defendants arrogantly and unilaterally decided they would simply steal ‘I Feel Love’ and use it without permission,” the lawsuit said. The filing accused the songwriters of re-recording “almost verbatim” the most “memorable portions” of Summer’s song, using the material as the hook for their own song, and releasing their infringing track “knowing they had tried and failed to secure legal permission.”

According to the complaint, West and Griffin knew they were “expressly refused permission to use ‘I Feel Love,’” so their infringement was “willful,” entitling Summer’s heirs, including her three daughters, to “maximum” damages. “This lawsuit is about more than defendants’ mere failure to pay the appropriate licensing fee for using another’s musical property. It is also about the rights of artists to decide how their works are used and presented to the public, and the need to prevent anyone from simply stealing creative works when they cannot secure the right to use them legally,” the lawsuit said.

Before he filed, Sudano posted about the dispute on social media. After confirming to Rolling Stone he planned to protect his late wife’s iconic hit, Sudano declined to comment on West’s string of controversies, including his antisemitic statements.

In October 2022, West tweeted his now-infamous plan to “go death con 3 ON JEWISH PEOPLE.” Weeks later, Rolling Stone published an investigation that found West presided over a “toxic” work environment at his Yeezy label, telling one staffer that “skinheads and Nazis were his greatest inspiration.” West later apologized on an Instagram post written in Hebrew in December 2023, but later sported a T-shirt for the Norwegian metal musician Burzum, who has been fined for antisemitism. West also promoted Vultures 1 with artwork that evoked Burzum’s cover art.

Ozzy Osbourne similarly pushed back when West used an unauthorized “Iron Man” sample in the Vultures 1 song “Carnival.”

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“Kanye West asked permission to sample a section of a 1983 live performance of ‘Iron Man’ from the Us Festival without vocals & was refused permission because he is an antisemite and has caused untold heartache to many,” the singer wrote in capital letters in a post on X. “He went ahead and used the sample anyway at his album listening party last night. I want no association with this man!”

Speaking with Rolling Stone, Osbourne said he felt compelled to take a stand. “With the current state of affairs, you don’t need anybody starting people on discrimination of any kind,” he said. “It’s wrong. It’s just wrong.”

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