King Crimson copyright holder sues over Kanye West’s ‘Power’ sample

Robert Fripp said: “This dispute has been dragging on for several years, unnecessarily IMO"

The rights holder of the King Crimson sample in Kanye West’s ‘Power’ is suing Universal Music Group.

As per a report in Variety, mechanical rights holder to King Crimson’s ’21st Century Schizoid Man’, Declan Colgan Music Ltd, claims that Universal have underpaid streaming royalties for the use of that song on ‘Power.’

‘Power’ appears on West’s acclaimed 2010 album, ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ and members of King Crimson are listed in the credits for the track.


According to Variety, Universal and Declan Colgan Music have an agreement that pays King Crimson a royalty rate of 5.33 per cent for copies of ‘Power’ that are sold or “otherwise exploited.”

The issue, according to Declan Colgan Music and their lawyers, is that they claim Universal are paying an insufficient amount for streams of ‘Power’.

The label is allegedly paying Declan Colgan Music a percentage of what it receives from streams, which is a lower amount than what CD sales would have produced.

According to Variety, the rights holder is claiming that Universal “failed, and continues to fail, to comply with its royalty accounting obligations.”

RF: This dispute has been dragging on for several years, unnecessarily IMO and I suggest the SOP for majors when…

Posted by Robert Fripp on Wednesday, April 13, 2022

In a statement on Facebook, King Crimson’s Robert Fripp said: “There is a longer story to be told, and likely to astound innocents and decent, ordinary people who believe that one is paid equitably for their work, and on the appointed payday.


“This dispute has been dragging on for several years, unnecessarily IMO,” he added.

He also went on to write that the band’s lawyers is the same one who won Ed Sheeran’s recent ‘Shape of You’ copyright case.

“Meanwhile and interesting factoid: the barrister acting for us is Ian Mill QC of Blackstone Chambers who just won Ed Sheeran’s case here in the UK and seen off the charge of plagiarism levelled against Ed,” he wrote.

NME has reached out to Universal Music Group for comment.

Sheeran won his recent copyright case, with a judge ruling that he had not plagiarised his hit song ‘Shape Of You’.

Sheeran along with two of his co-writers – Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid and producer Steve McCutcheon – had been accused of plagiarising part of a track called ‘Oh Why’ by Sami Chokri, who performs under the alias Sami Switch.

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