Kanye West’s EMI Contract Forbids Him From Retiring
Written by Jake Radio on March 4, 2019
Kanye West fights to obtain his freedom from his publisher and record companies.
“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. 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.”
He argues that the California Labor Code section 2855 limits personal service contracts to lock in for more than seven years. The rapper’s been with EMI since 2003 when he signed with them while working on College Dropout. Once the album was released to critical and commercial acclaim, EMI exercised the option to extend the contract with additional terms.
Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images
“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,” the complaint reads.
Kanye West wants to be able to sign other deals with record labels and publishers but he also claims that EMI gained millions of dollars unjustly. He wants a declaration barring them from exploiting the composition he delivered to EMI after 2010.