When Hungarian rock star Gabor Presser claimed Kanye West ripped off his 1969 composition, “Gyöngyhajú Lány” (“The Girl with Pearly Hair”), for his 2013 hit, “New Slaves,” the allegation eventually made it to court. Last week, Yeezy scored a tiny victory when a federal judge granted his request that lawyers for Presser depose him in Los Angeles rather than New York. The judge took into consideration the fact West lives in California with his wife, Kim Kardashian-West, and their two children, according to the New York Post.
Presser is suing West for $2.5 million for copyright infringement, claiming “New Slaves” uses 85 seconds of Presser’s original, which amounts to more than one-third of the song. Without a composer’s permission, samplings of any length break copyright law despite the false belief samples of five seconds, or eight bars, are permissible.
This all could have been avoided as in May 2013, a mere five days after West kicked off a 66-city tour in support of the Yeezus album (which is where “New Slaves” comes from), a lawyer for West emailed Presser in Budapest to say his client “would like to work out a deal,” as the court papers claim. Yeezy’s lawyers then sent the man a $10,000 “advance,” which Presser denies ever accepting although he continued to attempt to work out a deal. Last spring, with no final agreement reached, Presser pressed harder and sued.
A May 15 trial date has been set.