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Kanye West avoiding deposition over Ultralight Beam copyright case, plaintiffs say

By | Published on Tuesday 21 July 2020

Kanye West

Given he presumably can no longer rely on his old mate Don to wave his presidential wand and magically make any legal woes go away, maybe Kanye West should take some time away from his increasingly confusing bid for the US presidency to attend a deposition in relation to an going copyright dispute.

West and his business partners were sued last year over a short spoken word recording that appears at the start of ‘Life Of Pablo’ track ‘Ultralight Beam’. That recording features the voice of a young child in prayer with an adult voice responding. It was sampled from an Instagram video uploaded by the child’s mother back in 2016.

West’s people did approach the mother, Alice T Johnson, about sampling the audio from her Instagram post. However, in last year’s lawsuit the child’s adoptive parents – Andrew and Shirley Green – argued that Johnson didn’t actually have the authority to allow the girl’s voice to be used in the record. And even if she did, paperwork and payment in relation to the sample that were verbally promised to Johnson never materialised.

The legal squabble is continuing to go through the motions, and the Greens want West to attend a deposition so that he can answer questions in relation to the case under oath. But, they say, the rapper has not been complying with that request, instead doing everything he can to dodge the deposition, despite them proposing it take place at his lawyer’s LA office.

“Plaintiffs have attempted for seven months to schedule defendant West’s deposition”, a court filing last week stated. “Defendant West has refused to cooperate”, it added, while arguing that excuses West’s people have so far provided are not valid. With that in mind “plaintiffs request an order compelling defendant West to attend his deposition”.

West, of course, has been very busy in recent weeks with his late-in-the-day decision to stand against one-time friend Donald Trump in this year’s US Presidential election, even though he’s too late to even appear on the ballot papers in some states.

People still can’t quite decide if the whole thing is a very elaborate album launch campaign, or a genuine bid for political power, or something of a mid-life crisis. His official campaign launch last weekend provided no more clarity on that front.