Rapper Kanye West and his label UMG are seeking to limit a lawsuit relating to West’s use of a sample on his 2016 song “Ultrabright Beam.”
The song, which was recorded for the rapper’s The Life of Pablo album, includes the voice of a young girl praying. This came from an Instagram video that the girl’s mother posted earlier that year.
Interestingly, West did get verbal approval from the child’s mother to use the clip in his song. The only problem was that, at the time that the clip was recorded, this woman was no longer legally the child’s mother. Andrew and Shirley Green adopted the girl in 2012, so they insist that any agreement had to be with them.
The Greens further contend that West never finalized the agreement with the child’s birth mother, nor did he ever pay a fee for the clip’s use in the song.
In a court filing, West’s legal representatives have sought to limit the lawsuit in a number of ways.
First, they say that, because the Greens had not registered the original Instagram recording with the U.S. Copyright Office at the time “Ultrabright Beam” was recorded, they are not entitled to either statutory damages or attorney fees. If they are successful in arguing this, it could greatly reduce the amount of damages owed to the Greens.
West’s legal team is also trying to remove Andreia Green as a plaintiff in the case. Apparently a relative of the child, she is heard on the clip in addition to the girl. But West’s lawyers insist that, because she is not listed as a co-owner of the clip in the copyright registration, she has no standing in the case.
This is not the only legal dispute West has to worry about on Christmas. Earlier, EMI asked a court to reopen a lawsuit that they filed against the rapper after the parties could not reach a final settlement.