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  • A problematic album tops the album list

    22.02.2024 Mervi Vuorela
    This week’s number one album on the Finnish album charts was Vultures 1, co-released by US rapper Kanye West and Ty Dolla Sign. Instead of its music, the album has been in the headlines in recent days mainly because of its copyright violations.

    The estate of disco icon Donna Summer announced last week that Kanye West re-recorded Summer’s I Feel Love hit and changed the lyrics to his song Good (Don’t Die). West was not given permission to do so.

    The Backstreet Boys, Sly Stone and Ozzy Osbourne are also accusing West of unauthorised use of their songs.

    Ozzy Osbourne, the original singer of Black Sabbath, writes on the X that West stole an instrumental clip from Sabbath’s Iron Man. Osbourne says he refused West permission to use the song because West is “an antisemite and has caused untold heartache to many”.

    West eventually replaced the Iron Man sample with a snippet of his own song, but according to Rolling Stone, Osbourne is still considering legal action against West.

    The Vultures 1 album was briefly pulled from iTunes and Apple Music last week. The Good (Don’t Die) song was removed from Spotify, and later from Amazon Music. So far, the song has not returned to either platform.

    The case highlights the challenges of balancing creative sampling with respect for copyright laws.

    West is no stranger to sampling. From the beginning, his production style has been characterised by using snippets of other artists’ songs, from soul to r&b and rock to funk. West has also sampled Iron Man in the past on his 2010 track Hell of a Life. However, the licence granted at the time did not give West unlimited rights to sample the song.

    West has gotten into trouble before for his unresolved samples. In 2022, Chicago house pioneer Marshall Jefferson accused West of unauthorised use of his track Move Your Body on West’s track Flowers.

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