Robert Fripp Addresses The Lawsuit Over Kanye West Using King Crimson Sample In ‘Power’


On his official Facebook account, guitarist Robert Fripp talked about the lawsuit process between King Crimson and Kanye West on the subject of West’s using the band’s song.

King Crimson created a unique music style by combining jazz, heavy metal, and classical music. In the 1970s, the band influenced the progressive rock movement and became a cult among the fans. King Crimson’s 1969 debut album named ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ was considered the most internationally successful work of the band.

21st Century Schizoid Man‘ was a song criticizing the Vietnam War from the debut album. Many musicians from different countries covered this song, such as the Canadian rock band April Wine and the Norwegian band Shining. Additionally, Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne created a new version of this song and released it in his 2005 album ‘Under Cover.’

Besides all these covers, Kanye West also used this sample on the song ‘Power‘ from his 2010 album ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.’ However, Universal Music Group was sued because the mechanical rights owner of ’21st Century Schizoid Man’ DCM claimed that UMG had not paid the money they agreed to before. This agreement also included that DCM would receive equal royalties for the song’s physical sales.

According to Robert Fripp, this disagreement has gone so far that two King Crimson members, Greg and Ian, passed away during this process, as he stated in his recent Facebook post. Fripp indicated that it is a very long story with a background that would surprise those who work and hope to get paid appropriately. The guitarist also stressed that their lawyer is the same person who won Ed Sheeran’s copyright case.

Robert Fripp explained on Facebook:

“This dispute has been dragging on for several years, unnecessarily, in my opinion, and I suggest the SOP?? (Standard Operating Procedure??) for majors when confronted with their various failings. Regrettably, two of the original King Crimson members, Greg and Ian, died while the dispute was underway. There is a longer story to be told and likely to astound innocents and decent, ordinary people who believe that one is paid equitably for their work and on the appointed payday.

Meanwhile, an interesting factoid: the barrister acting for us is Ian Mill QC of Blackstone Chambers, who just won Ed Sheeran’s case in the UK and has seen off the charge of plagiarism leveled against Ed. LAW360:The amount that UMG paid under the licensee agreement was miscalculated, according to the suit, and King Crimson has asked the court for proper accounting of the fees due.”

You can listen to both songs below.