Kanye West has emerged victorious in a lawsuit over his 2007 hit “Stronger,” and, in what is certainly a very Kanye-ian stroke, he has German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche to thank for it.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a judge in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed rapper Vincent Peters’ (a.k.a. Vince P) claims that he had played a version of the song to one of West’s business associates, and that, as a result, ’Ye used it as the basis for his “Stronger.” In particular, he cited lines like “What don’t kill me/make me stronger,” which both songs contain variations of.
In her decision, Judge Diane Wood noted that, while West did have an opportunity to copy the song, Peters hasn’t supported his contention that the two versions of “Stronger” were similar enough. West had originally countered Peters’ claims by citing Nietzsche’s work “Good and Evil” — which contains the line “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” — as the inspiration for his song, and Wood not only supported that assertion, but gave a tip of the hat to Kelly Clarkson, too.
“Although the fact that both songs quote from a 19th century German philosopher might, at first blush, seem to be an unusual coincidence, West correctly notes that the aphorism has been repeatedly invoked in song lyrics over the past century,” Wood wrote in her opinion. “Notably, an even more recent popular song — one that held the top spot in the Billboard Hot 100 chart [a reference to Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”] at about the same time as oral arguments in this case — also shares this key feature with both West’s and Vince P’s songs.”
Peters had been appealing an earlier decision filed in the Northern District of Illinois, which had originally dismissed his copyright infringement claims, citing a lack of similarity between the two songs.