Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, faced a lengthy legal battle surrounding his 2018 hit “This Is America,” which has seemingly concluded with an appeals court affirming Glover’s win in the case.

In 2021, Emelike Nwosuocha, professionally known as rapper Kidd Wes, sued Glover accusing him of copyright infringement of his 2016 song “Made In America.”

The lawsuit named Glover, Jefferey Lamar Williams (Young Thug), and Ludwig Göransson, among others, along with major music industry entities such as RCA Records and Sony Music Entertainment.

Last year, a district court dismissed the case against Glover, ruling that Nwosuocha’s copyright registration only covered the song’s recording, not its underlying composition. Additionally, the court deemed the similarities between the two songs as insufficiently original for copyright protection.

In its recent decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the earlier ruling, stating there was no copyright for the composition underlying Nwosuocha’s “Made In America,” thereby concluding there was no copyright violation. The Court of Appeals, however, refrained from making a judgment on the issue of the two songs’ similarities.

Nwosuocha’s initial complaint outlined his creation and registration process for “Made In America,” indicating his intent to copyright both the composition and the recording. However, the court determined that Nwosuocha’s registration covered only the sound recording, and not the musical composition, highlighting the importance of this distinction in copyright law.

Glover’s “This Is America” achieved significant success, debuting at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 2018 and earning multiple Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

Through its Entertainment Law Division, Chilivis Grubman attorneys advise clients on copyright registration and protection, among other intellectual property rights. If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.