Kanye West’s Dismissed Lawsuit A Philosophical Decision

Pitchfork have reported that Kanye West has successfully beaten a lawsuit brought against him thanks to his legal council invoking the highly quoted words of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. West was being sued by musician Vincent Peters, who felt that West’s 2007 hit single Stronger bore similarities to a track Peters had sent West’s business partner John Monopoly in 2006.

The similarities occur during each song’s respective ‘hook’, with Peters and West both borrowing from Nietzsche’s maxim “that which does not kill us makes us stronger”. As quoted by the Court Listener, Peters’ lyrics read, “What don’t kill me make me stronger, The more I blow up the more you wronger, You copied my CD you can feel my hunger, The wait is over couldn’t wait no longer”.

While West’s hook is as follows, “N-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’ve been on ya.”

West’s legal council pointed out that West’s lyrics derive from the works of Nietzsche as opposed to Peters and thus Peters had no right to claim copyright theft. As noted by the Hollywood Reporter, West’s argument was also backed up by Judge Diane Wood who used Kelly Clarkson’s song Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) as an example of Nietzsche’s words appearing in other artistic endeavours.

“Although the fact that both songs quote from a 19th century German philosopher might, at first blush, seem to be an unusual coincidence, West correctly notes that the aphorism has been repeatedly invoked in song lyrics over the past century,” said Judge Wood, “Notably, an even more recent popular song—one that held the top spot in the Billboard Hot 100 chart at about the same time as oral argument in this case—also shares this key feature with both West’s and Vince P’s songs.”

Watch: Kanye West – Stronger

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