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Portishead Take on the Weeknd for Alleged Unapproved Sample

Geoff Barrow posts letter received from the Weeknd asking to allow use of sample, which Portishead did not grant

May 5, 2014 1:05 PM ET
Geoff Barrow Portishead
Geoff Barrow of Portishead.
Kevin Nixon/Prog Magazine/TeamRock via Getty Images

Following accusations that R&B singer/producer the Weeknd had improperly used a sample of Portishead's 2008 single "Machine Gun" on "Belong to the World" last year, the latter group's Geoff Barrow has posted a letter to Twitter allegedly showing that the Weeknd had requested to sample the track. Last year, Barrow had reported that the Weeknd claimed that he did not use a sample and that the music in the song was not similar enough to "Machine Gun" to warrant infringement, "or credit," as the Portishead multi-instrumentalist put it on Twitter.

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 The letter, which came from a rep for the Weeknd and is dated February 2013, names both songs and asks for the rights to use the sample in everything from the Weeknd's music to motion pictures, Pitchfork reports.

"I think it's a load of bollox," Barrow wrote on Twitter, according to Pitchfork. "When someone asks to sample you and you refuse, they should have the respect as a fellow artist to not use it." He explained, "We usually give sample clearance to tunes we like. It's got fuk all to do with money! As most of them are hip-hop artists that are [poor]." Barrow also wrote, "I don't wanna get paid. . . I just want my beat back."

When Barrow posted the music-publishing letter, he wrote only, "Hey kids, part one of 'No infringement,'" and included the Weeknd's Twitter user name. He did not mention lawsuits or any kind of action.

Previously, the Weeknd had acknowledged Portishead in an interview with Complex, which Stereogum excerpted. In 2013, he said of "Belong to the World," "Yeah, [Portishead] was the inspiration behind that. I wrote a letter to the producers of Portishead and let them know this album is inspired by them."

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