Kanye West Says He Stole 'Stronger' From Nietzsche, Not Random Songwriter

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[Photo: Erik Voake]
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SPIN Staff

Kanye West has launched an interesting defense against charges the lyrics to his Daft Punk-sampling hit "Stronger" resemble those on a track submitted to his management by a Virgina songwriter named Vincent Peters: He's stating the obvious and admitting they come straight from Friedrich Nietzsche.

Peters first sued West last year and a a federal judge dismissed the case in early 2011, proclaiming the songs weren't similar enough (lyrics-wise; the music is not at issue). But Peters appealed, and as the Hollywood Reporter notes, the two tracks are both called "Stronger," both cite the Nietzsche philosophy "That which does not kill us makes us stronger," both rhyme "stronger" with "longer," and both reference Kate Moss.

THR has the full brief West's lawyers recently filed, which contain the amusing bullet point, "Plaintiff Cannot Claim Ownership of the Name 'Kate Moss.' " In the "Statement of the Case," West's attorneys write, "Indeed, with the exception of one lyrical similarity (a reference to the 'Supermodel' Kate Moss, which is not copyrightable), the remaining alleged similarities all concededly derive from a century-old maxim by Friedrich Nietzsche, a maxim that, as the district court found, 'enjoyed a robust existence in the public domain.' "

West's lawyers also point out Peters decided to bring legal action against their client in June 2010, well after the 2007 release of "Stronger" on West's Graduation, but at a time "which appeared to coincide with his attempts to publicize his new album."

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