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Kanye West Taken to Court Over ‘Stronger,’ Cites Nietzsche as Evidence

Kanye West

Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images

Say what you want about the ever-controversial Kanye West, but the man knows his philosophers. The ‘Watch the Throne‘ rapper is citing Nietzsche in his response to a lawsuit over his 2007 single ‘Stronger.’

The Hollywood Reporter snagged a copy of a legal brief of the case. Virginia man Vincent Peters is suing the rapper for copyright infringement, claiming West stole the idea and some lyrics of ‘Stronger’ from a song Peters released in 2006. Peters claims he gave a copy of his own song to West’s business manager, John Monopoly (really, that name is just asking for it). Peters believes that Monopoly, in turn, gave West a listen to the song — and spurned the copyright infringement.

A federal judge dismissed the claims earlier this year, stating there weren’t substantial similarities between the two tracks. Peters appealed the decision, and Yeezy’s attorney, Carrie Hall, came back at the allegations. Hall claimed in a statement that if Peters won his suit, “it would create a dangerously low threshold for establishing copyright protection over otherwise commonplace words and phrases.”

Peters’ song, like West’s, is reported to have a Kate Moss reference, but Peters and his lawyers claim the strongest similarities are in the choruses. Peters’ track features the lines: “What don’t kill me make me stronger / The more I blow up the more you wronger / You coped [sic] my CD you can feel my hunger / The wait is over couldn’t wait no longer.” Meanwhile, West’s hook boasts, “N-n-now th-th-that don’t kill me / Can only make me stronger / I need you to hurry up now / ‘Cause I can’t wait much longer / I know I got to be right now / ‘Cause I can’t get much wronger / Man I’ve been waitin’ all night now / That’s how long I been on ya.”

While we can see some resemblance between the lyrics, Nietzsche’s famous line, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” is so ubiquitous and common that it’s hard to give credibility to claims like this. Additionally, Kate Moss is one of the most famous models on the planet — and we all know how much West loves supermodels — so the reference, in addition to being dismissed by the first judge in the case, can probably earn Ye a pass. If West did in fact steal the idea from Peters, it’s a classic David vs. Goliath battle, and that’s unfair — but so is the idea of trying to capitalize on someone else’s success with a bogus claim.

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