Kanye West sued by Texas pastor for using part of his sermon in a song

Bishop David Paul Moten is suing rapper Kanye West for copyright infringement, alleging he used part of one of his sermons in his track “Come to Life” off the 2021 “Donda” album without getting permission first from the Texas pastor.

The Dallas Morning News first reported on the lawsuit against the hip-hop legend. In the song, the pastor, 57, can be heard saying “My soul cries out, ‘Hallelujah,’ and I thank God for saving me. I, I thank God,” according to the lawsuit filed in Dallas County.

Moten is the bishop at Joy of Lord Worship Center, an Apostolic Pentecostal church located in Victoria, Texas.

The bishop alleges that one minute and ten seconds of the track is taken directly from his sermon and appears to run on a loop underscoring the pre-chorus and chorus throughout the song. According to the suit, that’s more than 20% of the track.

The pastor’s lawsuit is going after everyone in connection with the production of the song, including Universal Music Group, Def Jam Recordings, G.O.O.D. Music, and West as defendants.

The suit also contends that Kanye West and his record labels engage in a pattern of “willfully and egregiously sampling sound recordings of others without consent or permission.”

Moten wants to take the case to trial and is seeking unspecified damages as well as part of the profits from the song, according to CBS News.

(Video Credit: Kanye West)

Music producers “must obtain a ‘clearance’ or copyright license for every sample that [they] use in [their] recordings,” when sampling from state residents, according to the Texas Music Office.

The office warns creators to “clear your use of any sample before you spend a lot of money on recording so that you don’t spend studio time on a song that you cannot sell.”

The album was a Grammy nominee for Album of the Year and Best Rap Album. The song hit number 20 on the Billboard Christian songs charts in 2021 and the “Donda” album reached No. 1 on Apple Music’s Top Albums chart in 152 countries in 24 hours.

UMG Recordings was also dragged into another lawsuit over West’s alleged sampling. In April, Variety reported that the label was being sued over royalties from Ye’s 2010 track “Power.” It features a sample from the King Crimson song “21st Century Schizoid Man,” and was reportedly used without a license.

In 2019, West was also sued for sampling on his 2016 song “Ultralight Beam” from the “The Life Of Pablo” album. The track’s opening features a viral clip of a 4-year-old girl named Natalie reciting a prayer. The case was brought by her legal guardians, Andrew and Shirley Green, who adopted Natalie in 2012, according to TMZ. Court documents state that West’s team asked the child’s biological mother for permission to use her voice. However, the Greens argued that the mother had no legal right to grant permission to do so and they were never asked by West.

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