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The legal dispute between Kanye West and EMI may again become live thanks to a failure to finalize the terms of a settlement agreement. On Monday, the music publisher asked a federal judge in New York to reopen a case.
West began the year by seeking his contractual freedom by turning to California’s statute limiting personal services contracts to no more than seven years. The hip-hop star alleges that when his 2003 deal is combined with extensions, that adds up to a lack of freedom and is void under a law that was once famously used by Olivia de Havilland to escape a deal with Warner Bros. and has since been exploited by other musicians to renegotiate their own contracts.
The lawsuit from West raised eyebrows, particularly a provision of his contract that forbid retirement.
In response, EMI filed its own lawsuit against West in New York with the claim that the musician had made a “flagrant attempt to forum shop his way around” a provision of the contract that provided New York with exclusive jurisdiction.
Then, in September, both sides appeared to avoid what would have been a battle over whether parties could contract around California’s attempt to curtail contractual servitude. The judge was informed of a settlement, and the respective cases appeared to close.
But this appears to be one of the rare cases not to get to the finish line of settlement upon notice.
“Unfortunately, as of today’s date, the parties have been unable to finalize the terms of a settlement agreement, or to finally resolve related issues on which a settlement agreement would be conditioned,” states an EMI letter to the court. “As a result, good cause exists, and EMI hereby applies, to reopen the Action.”
Further details weren’t revealed, and West’s attorney was unavailable to immediately comment.
West, whose career has taken yet another swerve of late with religious-themed music, also has a pending case over his record contract.
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