EMI bosses are suing Kanye West over what he has called a “servitude” contract, insisting the terms of the agreement are all legal in New York, where the deal was signed – and extended.
Kanye is attempting to wriggle out of his restrictive 2003 contract with the record label and has filed documents in California, where such lengthy agreements are frowned upon, but EMI lawyers insist he has no chance of pushing through his suit, because New York doesn’t have a seven-year rule, like lawmakers do out west.
EMI executives have asked the court to declare the contracts are valid – and Kanye has to abide by them. They also want to block his lawsuit, in which he claims he is legally banned from retiring or taking an extended hiatus.
The Stronger rapper filed suit at the Los Angeles Superior Court in January (19), demanding “to be set free from” their contract, claiming that under the terms of the deal he must “remain actively involved in writing, recording and producing” songs and albums.
“At no time during the term will you seek to retire as a songwriter, recording artist or producer or take any extended hiatus during which you are not actively pursuing your musical career in the same basic manner as you have pursued such career to date,” the contract reads, according to his complaint.
The 41-year-old argued that the contract he signed was “lopsided” and claimed it is a violation of California state law to keep anyone locked into a “personal service” contract for more than seven years.
He has signed five extensions with the label since 2003, but these should not count after 2010, his lawyers state, and they have asked a judge to declare the rapper the owner of all music he has created since October, 2010, when the seven-year contract concluded.
Meanwhile, the rapper has been dealt another legal blow – veteran entertainer Ronald Oslin Bobb-Semple has filed suit against Kanye, Kid Cudi and Ty Dolla $ign over the trio’s Kids See Ghosts album track Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2), claiming they ripped off one of his spoken word recordings.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Bobb-Semple claims his vocals from 2002’s The Spirit of Marcus Garvey were used on the track without his permission.
He alleges the trio “exploited the actual voice, words and performance of Bobb-Semple, without authorization on the 2018 song”, and he is suing for unspecified damages and an injunction to prevent the trio from continuing to profit from his work.