25 February 2020CopyrightRory O'Neill

Kendrick Lamar facing copyright suit over ‘Black Panther’ song

Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar and Canadian singer The Weeknd have been named in a copyright lawsuit over their 2018 song “Pray For Me”, which featured on the soundtrack for the film “Black Panther”.

Brooklyn band Yeasayer filed the suit yesterday, February 24, at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, claiming that Lamar and The Weeknd sampled their 2007 track “Sunrise” without permission.

According to Yeasayer, “Pray For Me” features a “slightly modified” sample of a choral performance from the 2007 song, constituting an authorised derivative work of their copyrighted material.

“Pray For Me” contains “at least eight” separate reproductions of the choral sample, the suit claimed.

Lamar curated the 2018 soundtrack for “Black Panther”, and featured on five of the 14 tracks, including “Pray For Me”, which was also released as a single. The soundtrack was nominated for Album of the Year at the 61st Grammy Awards in 2019.

The rapper also won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his album “DAMN.”.

Lamar’s record label, Top Dawg Entertainment, was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Yeasayer released five albums before announcing their split last December.

“Sunrise” was the opening track on their 2007 debut album “All Hour Cymbals”. The song was registered at the US Copyright Office in March 2019 (number SR 836-572) by record label We Are Free, also listed as a plaintiff.

The band are seeking lost profits, damages, and attorneys’ fees for the alleged infringement.

The Weeknd, from Toronto, is currently facing a separate copyright suit over his song “A Lonely Night”.

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