Kanye West uses philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche to win ‘Stronger’ lawsuit

Judge rules that rapper was influenced by German intellectual rather than plagiarising another songwriter

Kanye West has won a lawsuit against another songwriter who accused him of stealing his lyrics for his single ‘Stronger’ by arguing that his words were actually borrowed from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

Vincent Peters initially filed a claim for copyright theft against West in 2010 and alleged that the rapper had copied his 2006 song, also called ‘Stronger’, after he gave a copy of the track to the hip-hop star’s manager John Monopoly.

West’s lawyers contested the claim by arguing that both artists’ songs were actually influenced by the work of 19th century intellectual Nietzsche, and in particular his famous maxim: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”


Peters’ initial claim was rejected by a federal judge which led him to launch an appeal with the US 7th Circuit Court Of Appeals but, according to MTV, Judge Diane Wood rejected his claim after ruling that the two songs didn’t sound similar enough.

Wood also ruled that too many other songs had been influenced by Nietzsche’s famous saying for Peters’ claim to be successful, and cited Kelly Clarkson’s 2011 track ‘What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)’ to support her argument.

“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,” Wood said. “Notably, an even more recent popular song — one that held the top spot in the Billboard Hot 100 chart [Clarkson’s song] at about the same time as oral arguments in this case — also shares this key feature with both West’s and Vince P’s songs.”

Earlier this month (August 21), it was reported that Kanye West was being lined up for a judging position on American Idol. The rapper also recently postponed the release of his G.O.O.D. Music compilation album, ‘Cruel Summer’, by two weeks. The LP was previously supposed to come out in early August and was then delayed until September 4. It has now been put back again until September 18.