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Forever: Kanye West's contract with record label won't let him retire

West is involved in writing, recording and producing compositions.

Mar 05, 2019, 02.46 PM IST
WASHINGTON D.C. [USA]: According to a provision in Kanye West's publishing contract with EMI, he cannot stop working.

This goes in sharp contrast to his statements on slavery last year, revealed The Hollywood Reporter, calling his words a Prince-like tactic in his efforts to extract himself from his record and publishing contracts.

"You (Mr. West) hereby represent and warrant that to [EMI] that You will, throughout the Term as extended by this Modification, remain actively involved in writing, recording and producing Compositions and Major Label Albums, as Your principle occupation. At no time during the Term will you seek to retire as a songwriter, recording artist or producer or take any extended hiatus during which you are not actively pursuing Your musical career in the same basic manner as You have pursued such career to date. (The preceding representation shall not be deemed to prevent You from taking a vacation of limited duration.)"

A source told Variety that such wording is common in publishing contracts, particularly for unproven songwriters. According to the source, "The key phrase is at no time during the term," adding, which is basically to say, "We are about to give you a big advance, it's not the time for you to decide to become a painter next week." He can do whatever he wants after the duration of the term.

However, West's contract with EMI (which is now owned by Sony/ATV Music Publishing) has been renewed several times, as noted in the lawsuit.

The artist's bid to be released from his publishing and recording deals revolves around a California law that limits personal-service contracts to no more than seven years. West claims that he's been laboring for EMI since he first signed with the publisher in 2003.

The singer also is trying to prove that EMI was unfairly enriched by the West compositions, it has published since October 2010. West is seeking for the judge to declare that he is now the owner of those works.

That claim means EMI can take the case from state to federal court, and it did so on Friday. While federal law allows copyright reversion, the option doesn't come up until 35 years after a work is published.

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