Childish Gambino has won a lengthy lawsuit over his 2018 hit single “This Is America.”
According to AllHipHop, a New York judge recently ruled in favor of Gambino (born Donald Glover) regarding claims that he plagiarized Kidd Wes’ 2016 song “Made In America.”
The Because the Internet hitmaker won on a technicality because of the order in which Kidd Wes (real name Emelike Nwosuocha) registered his copyright with the United States Library of Congress.
Court records show that the rapper only has a copyright registration for the recorded version of “Made In America,” not for the music itself. Since he didn’t obtain a recording and music registration simultaneously, it invalidated his claim against Gambino.
Young Thug, who has background vocals on “This Is America,” and JAY-Z’s Roc Nation were also named as defendants in the original lawsuit.
Judge Victor Marrero ruled that the songs themselves aren’t similar in nature, regardless of whether Kidd Wes had the proper registration documents or not.
“Even if Kidd Wes had a copyright registration for the composition of Childish Gambino’s Composition, however, dismissal would be warranted here because the elements of Childish Gambino’s Composition purportedly infringed upon are insufficiently original to warrant protection, or because they are not substantially similar to the Challenged Composition,” the judge said, per court records.
Kidd Wes has 30 days to appeal Judge Victor Marrero’s decision.
The Miami rapper originally sued Childish Gambino in 2021, saying his song was “practically identical” to “This Is America.”
Kidd Wes claimed he released “Made In America” via SoundCloud in September 2016 and uploaded it to YouTube a couple of months later. He then claimed to have registered “Made In America” with the U.S. Copyright Office in May 2017 as the lead single from his forthcoming album.
In the court documents, Kidd Wes argued Gambino’s “flow” is eerily similar to his, citing his lyrics: “Made in America/ Flex on the radio/ Made me a terrorist/ Pessimistic n-ggas?/ You should just cherish this” and comparing them to Gambino’s: “This is America/ Guns in my area/ I got the strap/ I gotta carry ’em.”
Kidd Wes also insisted there were “scientific similarities” in both tracks and claimed Gambino intentionally ripped him off.
“This Is America” went on to win multiple major awards at the 61st Annual Grammys in the Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Music Video categories.
Meanwhile, Donald Glover recently came under fire for his directorial treatment of Dominique Fishback in the new Amazon Prime Video series, Swarm.
The actor/director/rapper told Vulture that he intentionally decided not to talk to Fishback about her character Dre’s backstory because he wanted the viewers to create their own humanistic interpretation of the volatile character.
“I kept telling her, ‘You’re not regular people,” he said. “You don’t have to find the humanity in your character. That’s the audience’s job.’ ”