Kanye West Is Legally Forbidden From Retiring
By Lauren Crawford
March 4, 2019
Kanye West is not allowed to retire.
According to Yeezy's publishing contract with EMI, the "I Love It" rapper is forbidden from not working. "You (Mr. West) hereby represent and warrant that to [EMI] that You will, throughout the Term as extended by this Modification, remain actively involved in writing, recording and producing Compositions and Major Label Albums, as Your principle occupation," reads Ye's contract, per The Hollywood Reporter. "At no time during the Term will you seek to retire as a songwriter, recording artist or producer or take any extended hiatus during which you are not actively pursuing Your musical career in the same basic manner as You have pursued such career to date. (The preceding representation shall not be deemed to prevent You from taking a vacation of limited duration.)"
That portion of Kanye's music publishing contract is at the center of his on-going lawsuit against EMI. Kanye filed a lawsuit against the song publisher, which has had the rights to his songs since 2003, in January, in an effort to "obtain his freedom" from his publishing contract, and gain ownership of his work.
While Ye's complaint was almost entirely redacted when he filed it earlier this year, EMI recently released the contents of the entire document in an effort to move the case from California state court to the federal level. The company is reportedly hoping their case falls under the Copyright Act, which would complicate Kanye's argument since it's based on the California Labor Code section 2855, a.k.a. The De Havilland Law.
The labor code prevents personal service contracts from being longer than seven years, and since Ye claims he's been "laboring" for EMI since 2003, when he signed the contract while making College Dropout, he's using that as grounds for contractural freedom. "It makes no difference under section 2855 whether the contract is otherwise fair, or whether the employer has fulfilled its end of the bargain," Ye's complaint states. "It matters only whether the services began more than seven years ago. There can be no dispute that this happened here. The seven-year period ended under this contract on October 1, 2010. For more than eight years thereafter — more than double the maximum seven-year period California law allows — EMI has enforced rights in violation of California law, depriving Mr. West of the 'breathing period' that California law mandates."
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