Drake sued for alleged copyright infringement over sample used on ‘Calling My Name’

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LOS ANGELES - JUN 4: Drake at the LA Premiere Of HBO's "Euphoria" at the Cinerama Dome on June 4, 2019 in Los Angeles, CA

Ghanaian artist Obrafour has filed a lawsuit against Drake, claiming that the superstar rapper’s 2022 track Calling My Name featured an unauthorized sample from one of Obrafour’s own works.

Fifty-three seconds into that track, a vocalist can be heard saying “Killer cut, blood, killer cut.”

In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday (April 18) with the US District Court for the southern district of New York, Obrafour alleges that this line was taken from a remix of his 2003 track Oye Ohene.

The lawsuit, which you can read in full here, seeks a minimum of USD $10 million in damages. It names a whole host of co-defendants, including Drake’s record company OVO, Republic Records, its owner, Universal Music Group (UMG), and a number of affiliated companies.

Also named in the lawsuit are music producer Alex Lustig; DJ Diamante Blackmon (current stage name GORDO, formerly Carnage); songwriter and producer Johannes Klahr; and musician Beau Nox, all of whom are listed as producers or writers on Calling My Name.

In the complaint, Obrafour alleges that an agent representing Drake and the other defendants emailed him asking for permission to sample the track “mere days” before Calling My Name was released last year.

That email went out on June 8, 2022, and the agent sent a follow-up email on June 13. Obrafour hadn’t yet responded to these emails when Calling My Name dropped on June 17, the complaint alleges.

Calling My Name is the sixth track on Drake’s Honestly, Nevermind album, which was a surprise release last June, and debuted at No.1 on the US Billboard 200.

According to the complaint, the album generated more than 250 million streams in its first week alone. Calling My Name itself has garnered more than 47 million streams on Spotify and 4.1 million views on YouTube, the complaint alleges.

“The infringement by the Defendants has been, and continues to be, willful and knowing,” the complaint states.

On top of the $10 million in damages, the lawsuit seeks profits made from record sales, streams, live performances and other sources of revenue linked to Calling My Name. It also asks for compensation to cover Obrafour’s legal costs.

Obrafour is a Ghanaian rapper who has been described in Ghana’s local media as one of the most popular figures on the local music scene. His musical genre, hiplife, is a blend of hip-hop and traditional Ghanaian music.

Drake also made headlines this week after a song called heart on my sleeve went viral featuring AI-generated Drake and AI-generated The Weeknd vocals

The track was uploaded to YouTube and TikTok by its purported author, who goes by the moniker ghostwriter.

Also via a third-party distributor, the track successfully made its way to streaming services like SpotifyApple MusicSoundCloudDeezer and TIDAL, where it began to rack up streams by the hundreds of thousands.

The AI ‘fake Drake’ track was subsequently deleted from streaming platforms.Music Business Worldwide

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