Marshall Jefferson sues Kanye West over unlicensed ‘Move Your Body’ sample

House music legend Marshall Jefferson is suing Ye, AKA Kanye West, over the use of a sample from his seminal track, Move Your Body. In his lawsuit, Jefferson claims West used the sample “22 times” in his recent Donda 2 song Flowers without Jefferson’s permission. Also named in the lawsuit is West’s label Universal Music Group and Kano Computing Ltd, the tech company responsible for developing West’s Stem Player device through which Donda 2 was exclusively released. 

Speaking to the BBC on the lawsuit, Jefferson expressed disappointment at West’s use of the sample. “There is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Getting done by another artist, a Black artist, a fellow Chicagoan, without acknowledgment is disappointing.” In the lawsuit, Jefferson claims, “West advocates for artists’ rights with one hand, yet has no shame in taking away rights from another artist with the other.”

The lawsuit also notes that West’s team had admitted to use of the sample without a license during discussions with Jefferson and his legal team, though ultimately no license was taken. As a result, Jefferson and his publisher, Ultra International Music Publishing, are seeking compensation and damages to be determined at trial, or a minimum of $150,000 in damages per infringement.