A copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Donald Glover in 2021 over the Childish Gambino song “This Is America” was dismissed in a New York federal court on Friday, documents viewed by Pitchfork confirm. The 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 leave to amend, and according to Kidd Wes’ attorneys, he is considering an appeal.
“Mr. Nwosuocha is understandably disappointed, and is considering an appeal of the decision,” Imran H. Ansari and La'Shawn N. Thomas wrote in a statement to Pitchfork. “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.”
The dismissal from Judge Victor Marrero notes that Kidd Wes didn’t obtain a compositional copyright registration in addition to his sound recording copyright. “Even if Nwosuocha had a copyright registration for the composition of Plaintiff’s Composition, however, dismissal would be warranted here because the elements of Plaintiff’s Composition purportedly infringed upon are insufficiently original to warrant protection, or because they are not substantially similar to the Challenged Composition,” the dismissal reads.
After noting differences in the lyrics and individual songs’ themes, the judge writes, “More could be said on the ways these songs differ, but no more airtime is needed to resolve 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 multiple record and publishing companies as defendants in the lawsuit. Pitchfork has reached out to Childish Gambino’s representatives for further comment.