U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero has officially dismissed the copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Donald Glover/Childish Gambino over his 2018 hit “This Is America.”
According to Billboard, Judge Marrero ruled that “[a] cursory comparison with the challenged composition reveals that the content of the choruses is entirely different and not substantially similar.” He also noted that the lyrics of Kidd Wes (Emelike Nwosuocha), who filed the lawsuit against Glover in 2021, were a “short, simple, self-aggrandizing proclamation” while “This Is America” touched on “what America means and how it is perceived.”
In addition, the Manhattan federal judge explained that the “flow” of the two songs are not protected by copyrights as they “lack sufficient originality” while “no reasonable jury” will agree that the lyrics are too similar in nature to be labelled as copyright infringement. Finally, Nwosuocha had failed to attain a federal copyright registration for his song, making the dismissal of the complaint warranted. “More could be said on the ways these songs differ, but no more airtime is needed to resolve this case,” Judge Marrero wrote.
Nwosuocha filed the suit in September 2021 and alleged that “This Is America” infringes the copyright of his own cut “Made in America,” which was first uploaded on SoundCloud in 2016. He and his legal team claimed that “the substantial similarities between both songs include, but are not limited to, nearly-identical unique rhythmic, lyrical, and thematic compositional and performance content contained in the chorus—or ‘hook’—sections that are the centerpieces of both songs,” and were seeking damages from profit for at least 43 categories.
“He stands by his music, creativity, and the independence of grassroots artists to create their own music, and receive credit where credit is due, without the fear of it being apportioned by another,” Nwosuocha’s attorneys Imran H. Ansari and La’Shawn N. Thomas told Billboard, adding that the artist was “understandably disappointed” and may appeal the ruling.
Meanwhile, Glover’s lawyer Jonathan D. Davis shared, “No case existed here, as there was no infringement – let alone a copyright registration. That was obvious from a simple comparison of the two songs and a review of the U.S. Copyright Office records.”
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