By Hayden Wright
A Hungarian rock star has filed suit against Kanye West for allegedly sampling his work without permission.
Gabor Presser wrote the song “Pearls In Her Hair” as part of the band Omega in 1969, and claims it became “one of the most beloved pop songs ever in Hungary and across Eastern Europe.” In the lawsuit, which was filed in New York’s U.S. District Court, Presser asserts that one-third of “New Slaves” from West’s 2013 album Yeezus contains a sample from the track. He seeks a minimum of $2.5 million in damages.
In the suit, Presser claims that on May 20, 2013, he received an email from West’s management indicating that they wanted to reach a financial agreement for licensing the sample. The suit claims Presser never responded. Later, the Hungarian songwriter says he received a $10,000 check from West’s attorneys—which documents state he never cashed.
“Kanye West knowingly and intentionally misappropriated [the] plaintiff’s composition,” the complaint said. “After his theft was discovered, defendants refused to deal fairly with plaintiff.”
For comparison, here are the two songs: