Copyright Infringement

Childish Gambino Faces Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Rapper Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) has been accused of copyright infringement for his 2018 hit song, “The is America.”

This is America vs. Made in America – Is it Copyright Infringement?

Florida rapper Emelike Nwosuocha, known as Kidd Wes, claims that Gambino copied key features of his song “Made in America” for his own composition, “This is America.” This Gambino hit went on to win Song and Record of the Year at the 2019 Grammy Awards.

In the lawsuit, filed on May 6 in New York, Nwosuocha cited “substantial similarities” between the two compositions. These similarities include almost identical rhythm, lyrics, and both composition and performance themes in the chorus (“hook”) portions that are the highlight of both songs.

Parties Named in Copyright Lawsuit

Other parties named in the lawsuit include composer and producer Ludwig Emil Tomas Göransson, Young Thug (Jefferey Lamar Williams), RCA Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Kobalt Music, Roc National Publishing, and Warner Music Group, among others.

Facts of the Infringement Case

According to Nwosuocha, he composed his song and then uploaded it to SoundCloud on September 11, 2016. He followed up by uploading the track’s music video to YouTube around November 9, 2016. In addition, the artist registered the song with the U.S. Copyright Office on May 24, 2017, ahead of its official release as the lead single for his album, Eleven: The Junior Senior Year.

Musicologist Dr. Brent Swanson, who was hired by Nwosuocha, agreed that the two tracts had “distinct similarities, and the musician points out that the songs’ similarities can be audible to the general public.

Both songs explore themes of the oppression of people of color by the police, gun violence, political establishments and conservative groups like the GOP and NRA, in addition to “racist structures” in the U.S. and white nationalism.

The complete filing can be read here. This copyright case follows a series of high-profile copyright infringement lawsuits filed against popular artists in the past few years.

Music Business Worldwide – May 7, 2021 – Murray Stassen

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