A lawsuit against Childish Gambino alleging that his hit track “This Is America” contained elements of another previously released song has been dismissed in court.
According to reports, the case concerning the Grammy Award-winning song from 2018 came to an end after Judge Victor Marrero declared a dismissal in a Manhattan courtroom last Friday (March 24). The lawsuit was brought by rapper Kidd Wes (aka Emelike Nwosuocha) in 2021, alleging that Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) committed copyright infringement on his 2016 song “Made In America.” Wes said the hook was “unmistakably substantially similar, if not practically identical,” to his track.
“A cursory comparison with the challenged composition reveals that the content of the choruses is entirely different and not substantially similar,” Judge Marrero said, explaining Kidd Wes’ song was more of a “short, simple, aggrandizing proclamation” as opposed to Glover’s song detailing “what America means and how it is perceived.” The lawsuit also named Roc Nation, composer Ludwig Göransson and Young Thug as co-defendants.
Another factor in the decision made by Judge Marrero involved a discrepancy in how Kidd Wes registered the copyright for the song with the United States Library of Congress. The court ruled that his copyright claim isn’t valid because his registration certificate only covers the sound recording and doesn’t cover the music of the song.
“Even if Nwosuocha had a copyright registration for the composition of Plaintiff’s Composition, however, dismissal would be warranted here because the elements of Plaintiff’s Composition purportedly infringed upon are insufficiently original to warrant protection, or because they are not substantially similar to the Challenged Composition,” Marrero said.
The legal team for Kidd Wes issued a statement after the decision, saying that the artist is disappointed and is contemplating an appeal. “He stands by his music, creativity, and the independence of grassroots artists to create their own music, and receive credit where credit is due, without the fear of it being apportioned by another,” attorneys Imran H. Ansari and La’Shawn N. Thomas said.
A lawyer for Glover, Jonathan D. Davis, said in a statement: “We are very grateful for the court’s decision. No case existed here, as there was no infringement—let alone a copyright registration. That was obvious from a simple comparison of the two songs and a review of the U.S. Copyright Office records.”
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Lawsuit Against Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” Dismissed was originally published on hiphopwired.com
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