Kanye West could be in for more legal woes.
The children of funk legend David Pryor filed suit against Yeezy and Universal Music over the use of a sample in West’s 2005 hit “Gold Digger.” A press release from Pryor’s lawyers answer the question of why the suit was so long in the making:
“The complaint makes clear that “Gold Digger” was released in 2005 while David Pryor was in a convalescent hospital suffering from a host of severe mental and physical disabilities, including senile dementia, cerebrovascular disease, prostate cancer, epilepsy, and diabetes. He died in May 2006 from cerebrovascular disease without having any knowledge that his voice was being exploited by other artists for commercial profit. After David Pryor died, Trena and Lorenzo discovered Pryor’s song in late 2010, but they could not secure rights to the song until Pryor’s estate was probated and a final determination of heirs was made in 2011. In 2012, the family obtained all of the necessary information required to file this substantial lawsuit against Kanye and others.
Upon further investigation, it is clear that David Pryor’s actual voice (not just the lyrics) is sampled by Kanye and many other hit records have used Pryor’s actual voice without his consent or compensation. More lawsuits are coming. The Pryor family is putting all record companies on notice that they will be sued if they continue to steal and exploit David Pryor’s vocal performance in “Bumpin’ Bus Stop” without the family’s permission.”
Attorney Courtney Coates says she expects to be “victorious,” saying: “How would you like your actual voice to appear in a hit record without credit, your consent, or any compensation whatsoever? This is one of the most clear cut examples that I’ve seen in a long time of copyright infringement and misappropriation of an author’s voice in a copyrighted recording.”