Peters v. West

Docket Number: 11-1708
Judge: Wood
Opinion Date: August 20, 2012

In 2006 Vince P, wrote, recorded, and distributed a song entitled Stronger. The title comes from a line in its refrain that draws from an aphorism coined by Friedrich Nietzsche: “what does not kill me makes me stronger.” Vince P began looking for an executive producer in the hip-hop recording industry and sent a recording to Monopoly, a business manager and friend of Kanye West, a hip-hop superstar. Monopoly agreed to be Vince P’s producer, so long as Vince P was funded by a record label. That funding never materialized and the proposed collaboration foundered. Shortly thereafter, Kanye West released a song entitled Stronger. West’s song also features a hook that repeats the Nietzschean maxim and, according to Vince P, other suspicious similarities to his song. Vince P tried to contact West, but he was turned away by West’s representatives. In response, Vince P registered a copyright for his version of Stronger and sued West. The district court dismissed. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The two songs are not similar enough to support a finding that copyright infringement has occurred under 17 U.S.C. 106(1); the songs share only “cosmetic similarities.” View “Peters v. West” on Justia Law