A copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Donald Glover in 2021 over the Childish Gambino song “This Is America” was dismissed in federal court in New York on Friday, documents seen by Pitchfork confirm. Rapper Kidd Wes, real name Emelike Wesley Nwosuocha, claimed that Glover’s song infringed on his own 2016 song “Made in America.” The judge dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice to allow it to be amended, and according to Kidd Wes’ lawyers, he is considering an appeal.
“Mr. Nwosuocha is understandably disappointed and is considering appealing the decision,” Imran H. Ansari and La’Shawn N. Thomas wrote in a statement to Pitchfork. “He stands up for his music, creativity, and the independence of grassroots artists to create their own music and receive credit where it belongs, without fear that someone else will dole it out.”
Judge Victor Marrero’s dismissal notes that Kidd Wes failed to obtain a composition copyright registration in addition to his sound recording copyright. “Even if Nwosuocha had a copyright registration for the composition of the Complainant’s Composition, however, the dismissal would be justified here because the allegedly infringed elements of the Complainant’s Composition are not original enough to warrant protection, or because are not substantially similar to the Contested Composition,” the dismissal reads.
After noting the differences in the lyrics and themes of the individual songs, the judge writes, “More could be said about the ways these songs differ, but no more airtime is needed to settle this case.”
In addition to Donald Glover, Kidd Wes also named “This Is America” co-writer Young Thug, “This Is America” producer Lüdwig Goransson, and various record companies and publishers as defendants in the lawsuit. Pitchfork has reached out to Childish Gambino representatives for further comment.