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RZA Files Lawsuit After Sampling Infringement Accusations

Wu-Tang leader going to court over Kanye West's 'Dark Fantasy'

March 1, 2013 4:59 PM ET
RZA attends a Playboy and True Blood in San Diego.
RZA attends a Playboy and True Blood in San Diego.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images For Playboy

RZA is striking back against sampling infringement allegations that have resulted in lost income. The Wu-Tang Clan leader is unhappy with Island Def Jam for withholding over $50,000 in royalties based on allegations that his 2010 song with Kanye West, "Dark Fantasy," contains uncleared recordings from Teichiku Entertainment. RZA filed a lawsuit this week against JVC Kenwood Holdings, a multinational company that includes Teichiku.

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According to the Hollywood Reporter, RZA alleges in the suit that he was told "Dark Fantasy" sported a sample of "Gincyo Watadori," performed by Meiko Kaji, and Teichiku wanted compensation. That led Island Def Jam – Kanye West's label – to withhold royalty payments to RZA. An attorney with Teichiku says they made a claim last June, but disagreements over a settlement offer have led to the lawsuit.

RZA's goal is to secure a declaration from the court that the track is not an infringement, a proactive strategy. He's not the only artist who has faced this predicament recently; West, the Beastie Boys, Madonna, Jay-Z and others faced sampling lawsuits last year.

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