Drake Faces Legal Trouble Over Unauthorized Use of Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls”

Drake, the Canadian rapper and singer, has been accused by the British synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys of illegally interpolating their 1986 hit song “West End Girls” on his new album For All the Dogs. The Pet Shop Boys claim that Drake did not ask for their permission or give them any credit for using their chorus on his track “All the Parties”.

Pet Shop Boys Call Out Drake on Social Media

The Pet Shop Boys, composed of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, took to social media on Wednesday to express their surprise and displeasure at Drake’s apparent plagiarism. They posted a tweet that read:

Drake Faces Legal Trouble Over Unauthorized Use of Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls”
Drake Faces Legal Trouble Over Unauthorized Use of Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls”

Surprising to hear @Drake singing the chorus of “West End Girls” in the track “All the Parties” on his new album. No credit given or permission requested.

The tweet also included a screenshot of the lyrics of “All the Parties”, which clearly show Drake singing the lines “It’s 6, our town a dead-end world / East End boys and West End girls, yeah” twice, echoing the Pet Shop Boys’ original chorus.

Drake Has Not Responded to the Allegations

Drake, whose real name is Aubrey Graham, has not yet commented on the allegations or offered any explanation for his use of the Pet Shop Boys’ lyrics. His representatives also did not respond to requests for comment from various media outlets.

Drake’s album For All the Dogs, which was released on October 1, 2023, has been receiving mixed reviews from critics and fans alike. Some have praised its production and diversity, while others have criticized its length and lack of cohesion. The album features collaborations with artists such as Future, Lil Baby, Travis Scott, Young Thug, and Jay-Z.

Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls” Is a Classic Pop Song

The song that Drake allegedly borrowed from, “West End Girls”, is one of the most iconic and successful pop songs of the 1980s. It was originally produced by Bobby Orlando in 1984 and became a minor club hit. In 1985, the Pet Shop Boys signed with EMI/Parlophone and re-recorded the song with producer Stephen Hague. The new version became a worldwide smash, reaching number one in both the US and the UK charts.

The song was inspired by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message”, T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, and James Cagney gangster films. It explores the social and cultural differences between London’s East End and West End, as well as the themes of urban alienation and class struggle.

The song has been widely acclaimed by critics and fans alike, and has been ranked among the greatest songs of all time by various publications and polls. It has also been covered and sampled by numerous artists over the years, such as Robbie Williams, U2, James Blunt, and The Killers.

Drake Could Face Legal Consequences for His Interpolation

According to music industry experts, Drake could face legal action from the Pet Shop Boys if he did not obtain a license or clearance to use their song. Interpolation is a form of sampling that involves re-recording or re-creating a portion of another song, rather than directly copying it. However, interpolation still requires permission from the original songwriters and publishers, as well as payment of royalties.

If the Pet Shop Boys decide to sue Drake for infringement, they could seek damages based on the profits that Drake made from his song or album, or based on a reasonable royalty rate that they would have charged him for using their song. They could also seek an injunction to stop Drake from further distributing or performing his song without their consent.

However, some legal experts have also pointed out that there could be some defenses or mitigating factors for Drake in this case. For instance, Drake could argue that his use of the Pet Shop Boys’ chorus was fair use, a legal doctrine that allows limited use of copyrighted material for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. Drake could also claim that his use of the chorus was de minimis, meaning that it was too trivial or insignificant to constitute infringement.

Alternatively, Drake could try to settle the matter out of court with the Pet Shop Boys by offering them an apology, a credit, or a payment. This could save him from a lengthy and costly legal battle, as well as preserve his reputation and relationship with his fans.

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