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The Weeknd Denies Ripping Off Rock Band Yeasayer On 'Black Panther' Track With Kendrick Lamar

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By Ryan Naumann

The Weeknd is firing back at accusations he stole music from a rock band and tried to cover his tracks.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, The Weeknd is asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the Brooklyn-based rock band called Yeasayer.

Earlier this year, Yeasayer sued The Weekend (real name: Abel Tesfaye), Kendrick Lamar (real name: Kendrick Duckworth), Universal Music Group and Interscope Records.

The band had issues with The Weeknd and Kendrick’s hit song “Pray for Me.” In the suit, Yeasayer accuses the artists of stealing parts of their 2007 song “Sunrise” and alterting it on their track, which was featured on the “Black Panther” soundtrack.

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In newly filed court documents, Weeknd denies all allegations of wrongdoing in the complaint. He is adamant “Pray For Me” was “created independently from and without knowledge of the allegedly infringed work.”

He argues any portion used from “Sunrise” is fair use and cannot be copyrighted. The response states, “The sound recording of Pray For Me does not capture any actual sounds from the sound recording, Sunrise.”

Weekend wants all claims against him dismissed and his attorney fees paid for by Yeasayer.

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Back in February, Yeasayer filed the federal lawsuit against The Weeknd in New York court. In the lawsuit, the band said the portion stolen from their song is a "distinctive choral performance" that they uniquely recorded. Yeasayer described it as, "comprised of male voices singing in their highest registers, with animated, pulsing vibrato."

The band believes Weeknd and Kendrick used the sample and tried to get away with copyright infringement by slightly altering the music. Yeasayer says the sample was used 8 different times in “Pray For Me.”

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages plus an injunction prohibiting Weeknd and Kendrick from couniting to profit off the work.

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