Kanye West filed a lawsuit in California on Wednesday (Sept. 6) against the individual or entities responsible for taking and distributing copies of his music that have ended up on social media.
In the complaint, the artist, who now goes by Ye, alleges trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract due to the unauthorized leaks of copyrighted works on both Instagram and X (formerly Twitter), arguing they have caused “substantial harm” to his reputation.
Ye’s lawyers claim that starting on Mar. 3, 2023, the owner of the @daunreleasedgod_ handle on Instagram went on a leaking spree of unreleased tracks, including “We Did it Kid,” “Shy Can’t Look,” “NASDAQ” and “Mr. Miyagi,” as well as collaborations with artists including DJ Khaled and unauthorized video footage of a Donda listening party.
The rapper’s complaint goes on to cite the @daunreleasedgod_ account on X for similarly posting unauthorized leaks on dates ranging from mid-June to late August. “Ye has suffered significant financial losses and damages as a direct result of the Defendants’ actions,” the suit alleges.
The lawsuit does not name @daunreleasedgod_ or any of its other variations as a defendant in the case, only that it was the main distribution vehicle for the leaks.
Ye’s lawsuit indicates that he “does not know the true names or capacities” of the defendants who leaked the tracks to the Instagram or X user(s), but believes that those individuals were required to sign confidentiality agreements with him before they were given access to the compositions. By leaking and distributing the tracks, the defendants breached their contract with the artist and owe him damages and any profits generated, the complaint adds.
The filing continues that the “distinctive arrangement and unique elements” found in Ye’s music amount to a trade secret “due to its economic value, secrecy, and the efforts taken to safeguard it” and that the defendants violated their contract with Ye when they “knowingly and unlawfully acquired, disclosed, and distributed” those unique works.
The case, filed by Gregory K. Nelson of Weeks Nelson, seeks to restrain the defendants and “those acting in concert with them or at their direction” from further exploitation of Ye’s compositions and demands damages, fees and other costs. While the identities of the defendants are not yet public, “Ye will amend its Complaint to set forth the true names and capacities of these defendants when they have been ascertained.”