Kanye West and Jay-Z Reply to Syl Johnson Sample Lawsuit

Kanye West and Jay-Z Reply to Syl Johnson Sample Lawsuit

Kanye West and Jay-Z file papers in court denying they illegally sampled Syl Johnson's music.

Published December 20, 2011

Kanye West and Jay-Z were sued by renowned soul and blues musician Syl Johnson in October for sampling his song "Different Strokes" without permission on their track "The Joy," featured on their collaborative album Watch the Throne. Last Thursday, the pair fought back against the lawsuit, filing papers in court.

According to Billboard, their answer to Johnson's suit, filed by attorney Carrie Hall, denies many of the allegations, although it does acknowledge his claim that the song was released prior to Watch the Throne during Kanye's buzzed-about G.O.O.D. Friday music leaks, leading up to his 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The papers also challenge Johnson's right to bring the case in the first place, questioning whether "Different Strokes" is protected by federal copyright law since it was made before 1972, when the law was changed to include sound recordings. Jay and 'Ye further suggested they may have had license to use it.

And finally, in the following excerpt, the papers go on to deny that Hov and Yeezy used the sample at all, and that if they did its use was inconsequential, or in legalese, "de minimus":

“Any claim based on the alleged use of Plaintiffs' recording is is barred because, inter alia, (a) the allegedly copied portion of the Plaintiff's recording is not part of the musical composition; and, if it is part of the composition, (b) is not protectable and/or (c) any use was de minimus.”

Stay tuned to BET.com for details as this case progresses.

 is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.

(Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for VEVO)

Written by Alex Gale


Latest in news

Inauguration Day

January 20, 2021