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Syl Johnson "Different Strokes" Suit Vs. Kanye and Jay-Z Dismissed

By Kim Bellware in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 12, 2012 9:00PM

Photo by Rachael Barbash
Five months after filing suit against Kanye West and Jay-Z for copyright infringement of his 1967 hit "Different Strokes," soul legend Syl Johnson might be just around the corner.

With a settlement between the parties pending, a judge in the U.S District court dismissed Johnson's suit last Thursday. According to Variety, the settlement is expected sometime within the next six weeks.

The major milestones leading up to Johnson's suit involve a head-spinning number of bureaucratic, legal and contractual turns (you can hop into the Chicagoist Wayback machine for a primer on how the whole ordeal started):

Johnson's sample appeared on the track "The Joy," initially leaked online as part of West's "Good Friday" series. Numero Group, the Chicago-based label releasing and re-issuing Johnson's work endured some back and forth with the sample clearinghouse from West's Def Jam label, which included a frantic request for permission to use Johnson's work for "The Joy" (at the time, considered for West's album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), and a total communication dead zone when Def Jam stopped responding.

Last August, Johnson called Numero to ask why the label was credited as the publisher for the track, now on the West/Jay-Z collaboration, Watch The Throne album. Numero stated they weren't consulted on the new use and were "baffled why we appear in the credits, for which we never asked[...]"

Barely two months later, Johnson filed suit for the alleged infringement.

Now that the suit is dropped and the parties are headed for a settlement, let's hope the resolution goes smooth as silk.