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Mājas Entertainment King Crimson Settles Infringement Lawsuit Over Kanye West Sample in ‘Power’

King Crimson Settles Infringement Lawsuit Over Kanye West Sample in ‘Power’

King Crimson Settles Infringement Lawsuit Over Kanye West Sample in ‘Power’

Photo Credit: King Crimson for Atlantic Records, 1974

Universal Music Group has settled a lawsuit over mechanical royalties for prog rock band King Crimson’s 1969 sample used in Kanye West’s 2010 track ‘Power.’

King Crimson and Declan Colgan Music have settled their lawsuit with Universal Music Group (UMG) over a Kanye West song that samples the prog rock band’s 1969 track, “21st Century Schizoid Man.” Declan Colgan Music owns the mechanical rights to the King Crimson song, with the company claiming UMG had underpaid them on streaming royalties earned from the sample’s use in West’s track “Power.

The lawsuit was filed in London’s High Court in March 2022, and the case was due to go to trial in the UK this week before reaching a settlement out of court. West, who now goes by Ye, used King Crimson’s signature song for his 2010 hit, “Power.” But he was not a party to the lawsuit, which focuses specifically on allegedly underpaid mechanical rights.

Still, the filing asserts that West originally sampled the prog rock band’s track without license when “Power” and the album on which it was featured, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, were released in 2010. After the release of the song and album, UMG and West’s production company, Rock the World, signed a deal with Declan Colgan Music to grant the company royalties.

The deal stated that Declan Colgan Music would receive royalties on the same terms as West, whose deal with UMG stipulated his royalties for both streaming and physical CDs would be comparable. But in their lawsuit, Declan Colgan Music claimed the royalties they received for streaming were not comparable to those they received for CD sales.

The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, though Law360 and Variety have been told that Declan Colgan Music received payment as part of the agreement. Neither representatives for Declan Colgan or UMG responded to media requests for comment. Declan Colgan Music was represented by Clintons, while UMG was represented by Russells.

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