Earlier this year, it was revealed that Kanye West had filed new documents in his ongoing lawsuit against EMI Records and Roc-A-Fella, in which which he compared the terms of the contract to “servitude” and asked “to be set free from its bonds.” Now, in court documents that were previously redacted but were recently made available in full, it is revealed that Kanye isn’t actually allowed to retire according to the terms of his EMI contract.
The part of the contract in question states:
“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.)”
Kanye is arguing that the contract is no longer enforceable because in California, personal services contracts cannot last longer than seven years. Kanye’s complaint states, “It makes no difference under section 2855 whether the contract is otherwise fair, or whether the employer has fulfilled its end of the bargain. 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.”
It was previously rumored that Kanye was delaying his upcoming album, Yandhi, due to the contractural dispute, but he denied that.