jakub | March 27, 2023

Lawsuit over Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ dismissed

Rapper Kidd West’s 2021 lawsuit against Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) over the alleged copyright infringement of ‘This Is America’ has officially been dismissed.

Late last week, Manhattan judge Victor Marrero dismissed Kidd West’s (real name Emelike Nwosuocha) lawsuit, saying his 2016 track ‘Made In America’ was “not substantially similar” to Childish Gambino’s hit 2018 track ‘This Is America’, per a Billboard report.

Documents from the lawsuit – filed in 2021 – saw Nwosuocha seeking a trial and damages from profit for the alleged infringement across 43 categories, including record sales, downloads, streaming revenue, merchandising and more.

“A cursory comparison with the challenged composition reveals that the content of the choruses is entirely different and not substantially similar,” judge Marrero said, also noting that Nwosuocha’s lyrics were deemed a “short, simple, self-aggrandizing proclamation” while Glover’s lyrics were based on “what America means and how it is perceived,” ruling out any similarity based on lyrics.

Judge Marrero also pointed out that Nwosuocha had failed to obtain a compositional copyright registration: “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”.

“More could be said on the ways these songs differ, but no more airtime is needed to resolve this case,” judge Victor Marrero added.

Nwosuocha’s attorneys, Imran H. Ansari and La’Shawn N. Thomas, offered a statement to Pitchfork, saying their client is “understandably disappointed, and is considering an appeal of the decision”.

“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,” Ansari and Thomas added.

Neither Childish Gambino nor his representatives have commented on the results of the lawsuit.

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