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Leave Kanye West Alone

29 March 2011 No Comment

Small time rapper and songwriter Vince Peters filed a notice of appeal on 3/25/11 to the dismissal of his case against Kanye West. Kanye West raps that he is STRONGER… so could Vince Peters be any WRONGER? Known simply as Vince P, he has become a laughing stock on many entertainment blogs when his copyright infringement suit against Kanye was thrown out earlier this month. Vince alleged that the lyrics in Kanye West’s song “Stronger” are substantially similar to that of his demo song “Stronger.” In 2006, as Vince P was on his quest to find a producer, he  sent a copy of his song “Stronger” to John Monopoly, a close friend of Kanye’s. Coincidently in 2007 Kanye released the song “Stronger,” which Vince P alleges is substantially similar to the song he sent John Monopoly the previous year. Vince states that his song has the same title, a similar sounding hook, and they both mention Kate Moss. The court found that the two songs were not substantially similar because they failed to demonstrate a “fragmented literal similarity.”

Look at Vince P’s pathetic attempt of copyright infringement…and watch his appeal get thrown out too. (posted below)

Vince Peters states that:
First, both his song and Kaye Wests’s song have an identical title, “Stronger.” (not the most unique title)
Second, both sets of lyrics include the name of English model Kate Moss.  (so what, rappers reference supermodels all the time)
Third, the refrains, or “hooks,” of both songs are similar.

The hook in Peter’s Song is:

What don’t kill me make me stronger
The more I blow up the more you wronger
You coped my CD you can feel my hunger
The wait is over couldn’t wait no longer

The hook in West’s Song is:

N-N-N-now th-th-that don’t kill me
Can only make me stronger

I need you to hurry up now
Cause I can’t wait much longer
I know I got to be right now
Cause I can’t get much wronger
Man I’ve been waitin’ all night now
That’s how long I’ve been on ya

The following comes from the courts motion to dismiss.

The Rule:

Vince Peters argues that the two songs have “fragmented literal similarity,” based on a doctrine recognized in other circuits that instructs courts to find substantial similarity when a smaller fragment of a work, but not the overall theme or concept, has been copied literally. See, e.g., Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. UMG Recordings, Inc., 585 F.3d 267, 275 (6th Cir. 2009). The smaller fragment must be a “direct quotation[] or close paraphrasing,” Castle Rock Entm’t, Inc. v. Carol Pub. Grp., Inc., 150 F.3d 132, 140 (2d Cir. 1998), and must have qualitative and quantitative significance in relation to the plaintiff’s work as a whole. Newton v. Diamond, 388 F.3d 1189, 1195 (9th Cir.2003). “[R]andom similarities scattered throughout the works are not a proper basis for a finding of substantial similarity.” Bridgeport Music, 585 F.3d at 275 (citations omitted).

Rule Application

Here, however, the similarities in the two songs do not rise to the level of fragmented literal similarity. The only smaller fragments that are copied literally are the words “don’t kill me make me stronger,” “wronger,” “wait no longer,” and “Kate Moss,” which do not have readily recognizable qualitative significance in relation to the plaintiff’s work as a whole. See, e.g., Murray Hill Publ’ns, Inc. v. ABC Comm., Inc., 264 F.3d 622, 633 (6th Cir. 2001) (stating that smaller fragments must be “an integral part” of that work and as “‘readily recognizable’ in terms of [their] relationship to the [work] as ‘E.T. phone home’ is to its movie source”), abrogated on other grounds by Reed Elsevier, 130 S. Ct. at 1237. Therefore, because no ordinary observer could find that the filtered song lyrics are substantially similar, and there is no fragmented literal similarity, Peters’ complaint fails to plausibly plead that West’s song is substantially similar to Peters’ song.

Vince p vs. Kanye West

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