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Donna Summer’s estate reaches settlement with Kanye West over use of ‘I Feel Love’

The Donna Summer estate has reportedly reached a settlement with Kanye West over the alleged “illegal” use of ‘I Feel Love’ in the rapper’s ‘Vultures 1’ album.

A lawsuit was filed against both West and Ty Dolla $ign back in February, claiming that the two rappers did not have permission to sample the 1977 disco hit on their collaborative album.

The copyright infringement lawsuit was filed in federal court in Los Angeles, California on February 27 by Summer’s husband Bruce Sudano in his role as executor of the estate.

It alleged that representatives for West – who now goes by Ye – had asked for permission to use the sample on his track ‘Good (Don’t Die)’, but was turned down by the late singer’s estate as they “wanted no association with West’s controversial history”.

Sudano also claimed that West and Ty then approached Summer’s record label, Universal Music Enterprises, in a bid to be granted permission, but were denied once again.

From there, he alleged, the two rappers “shamelessly” included re-recorded parts of the hit that were “instantly recognisable” on the ‘Vultures 1’ cut.

Shortly after the lawsuit emerged, ‘Good (Don’t Die)’ was removed from Spotify and other streaming services.

Donna Summer performs onstage in Illinois, 1983. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Now, outlets including Rolling Stone have reported that Donna Summer’s family have reached a settlement with Ye and Ty.

In a status report filed yesterday (May 15) in Los Angeles’ federal court, a lawyer representing Summer’s estate said that the parties involved came to a “global settlement” on May 3 and began gathering signatures to officially resolve the lawsuit this week.

“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,” read the new filing, signed by estate lawyer Stanton L. Stein (as per Rolling Stone).

“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.”

NME has reached out to a spokesperson for Kanye West for comment.

Rapper Kanye West performs onstage during the "Vultures 1" playback concert during Rolling Loud 2024
Rapper Kanye West performs onstage during the “Vultures 1” playback concert during Rolling Loud 2024. CREDIT: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

This was far from the only claim of infringement that arose following the release of ‘Vultures 1’. Back in December, it was claimed that West had used a Backstreet Boys sample on a ‘Vultures’ track called ‘Everybody’. The song was reportedly not cleared, however, and didn’t end up featuring on ‘Vultures 1’.

Then, Ozzy Osbourne hit out at Ye over an alleged unauthorised sample of Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’ on the cut ‘Carnival’. The Prince Of Darkness called West “an antisemite” who had “caused untold heartache to many”, adding: “I want no association with this man!”

The Sabbath sample was subsequently removed and replaced with a part from West’s song ‘Hell Of A Life’, which features a legally-cleared sample of ‘Iron Man’. Ye later responded to Ozzy, claiming that the comments may not have come from the musician himself.

Osbourne then addressed confronting West, saying: “Well, nobody else would fucking do it, did they?”

In a two-star review of ‘Vultures 1’, NME said that the collection was “mired in misogyny” and “dogged by degrading lyrics and messy mixes”.

It added: “Such misogyny is hardly new in hip-hop – or either artists’ catalogues or the broader musical landscape in general – but that doesn’t make it any less detestable.”

In other news about the rapper, it was reported earlier this week that Universal Music Group (UMG) had settled a lawsuit with King Crimson over a sample used in Ye’s ‘Power’.

Elsewhere, the musician has been sued for racial discrimination by one of his former security guards, and was reported as having scrapped plans to create his own adult film company called Yeezy Porn.

Last month, it was reported that he was going to start his own adult film studio with the help of porn producer Mike Moz and it was set to launch as early as this summer.

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