Kanye West and Jay-Z Sued For Sampling Syl Johnson Song

Oct 19, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
Kanye West and Jay-Z are being sued by Syl Johnson, who claims they sampled his song without permission.

Kanye West and Jay-Z are being sued for allegedly unlawfully sampling a song originally written by blues musician Syl Johnson.

Kanye West and Jay-Z's recently released album "Watch the Throne" sold more than 436,000 digital copies in its first week and has since gone platinum. Johnson's lawsuit is seeking all copies of the album be seized, a detailed account of the profit made from the album and punitive damages.

Syl Johnson alleged that Kanye West and Jay-Z sampled his 1967 hit "Different Strokes" on a song called "The Joy," which is included in the deluxe edition of their album. The complaint was filed in an Illinois federal court recently, contending the song was sampled without his permission and he was not credited in the album's liner notes, reported MTV.

According to the International Business Times, the Syl Johnson song has been sampled more than 60 times, and he unsuccessfully sued rap group Cyprus Hill in 1993 for sampling his song "Is It Because I'm Black" in their song "Lock Down."

Johnson's record label Numbero Uno Group is fully behind its client.

"Two decades and several lawsuits later, Syl Johnson is a veteran of copyright infringement cases, and has done very well for himself clearing samples from his fertile catalog...for use in numerous tracks," the company said in a statement. "Island Def Jam seems to think that Syl doesn't have any fight left in him. We're betting otherwise."