8 April 2020CopyrightRory O'Neill

Pastor behind Kanye West sample sues own record label

A Chicago pastor who was featured on  Kanye West’s 2016 album “The Life of Pablo” has accused his own record label of licensing his gospel music without his consent.

In a lawsuit filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Monday, April 6, Thomas Barrett said he hadn’t granted his label, Henry Stone Music, permission to reproduce or distribute his music apart from a limited vinyl run.

Although the lawsuit does not mention Kanye West specifically, Barrett’s work was notably sampled by the rapper on his 2016 song “ Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1”.

The sample itself received extensive critical acclaim, and was taken from a song on Barrett’s 1976 album “Do Not Pass Me By”.

According to the pastor,  Henry Stone Music has been distributing both physical and digital copies of the album, as well as granting licences for sampling by other artists, without his permission for decades.

The pastor said he had authorised Henry Stone to produce and sell a limited vinyl run of the 1976 album immediately after its release, but not reproduce or distribute the record in any other form “at any other time over the past forty years”.

Barrett registered the album at the US Copyright Office last month.

“Defendants’ copying, duplication, use, performance, licensing, and exploitation of the Recordings constitutes infringement of plaintiff’s copyright in the recordings,” the complaint reads.

Barrett is suing for all of the profits gained by Henry Stone from the alleged infringement.

The Chicago pastor recorded a total of five gospel albums, the most recent being released in 1978, as well as numerous sermons.

As well as the Kanye West feature, the pastor’s 1971 song “Nobody Knows” has also been sampled by artists DJ Khaled and rapper Copywrite.

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