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The Weeknd hits back in Yeasayer sample dispute

By | Published on Wednesday 6 May 2020

The Weeknd

So, last week we were all wondering if The Weeknd would intervene again to stop his tedious pop music from stopping an admirable charity record from topping the UK charts (he didn’t but, as it happened, he didn’t need to). Meanwhile, The Weeknd himself was waffling on constantly about the episode of ‘American Dad’ he’s worked on.

However, his lawyers were busy responding to claims that he ripped off the band Yeasayer on his 2018 Kendrick Lamar collaboration ‘Pray For Me’.

Yeasayer sued Lamar and The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, back in February. They claim that the duo sampled without permission a choral performance that appears in their 2007 track ‘Sunrise’. They reckon that Lamar, Tesfaye and the producers who worked on the track took that segment of their record, messed around with it a bit, and then inserted it into ‘Pray For Me’. The modifications, they added, were designed to conceal the sneaky track theft.

Not so says Tesfaye. According to The Blast, his lawyers last week filed papers with the court insisting that ‘Pray For Me’ was “created independently from and without knowledge of the allegedly infringed work”.

The legal filing adds that “the sound recording of ‘Pray For Me’ does not capture any actual sounds from the sound recording ‘Sunrise'”. And that any similarities between his track and the choral performance in Yeasayer’s record are covered by fair use, or lack substance to be protected by copyright in the first place.

So, pretty standard counter arguments for a case like this. Tesfaye wants Yeasayer’s case dismissed and his legal costs covered. We await to see the band’s response.