A ridiculous person named Vincent Peters sued Kanye West in 2010, alleging West had stolen a song Peters had sent the rapper in 2006. The overlap in question came in the chorus of Kanye West's "Stronger," which starts, "N-n-now that that don't kill me / Can only make me stronger."
Peters did not come up with these words or the sentiment, however; Friedrich Nietzsche did. In Twilight of the Idols, he wrote, "From life's school of war: what does not kill me makes me stronger." Suing someone for invoking words that have come to be so present in our discourse that they're at cliche status is like filing copyright infringement over the color blue or launching a war against plants for stealing our carbon dioxide. Real weak case.
The first judge saw it that way and dismissed the suit. Peters filed an appeal from the rock he's living under and last week, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals shot him down, affirming the dismissal of the case. Judge Diane Wood's opinion reads:
Nietzsche's phrase "what does not kill me, makes me stronger" comes from Twilight of the Idols (1888). 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. Notably, an even more recent popular song-one that held the top spot in the Billboard Hot 100 chart at about the same time as oral argument in this case-also shares this key feature with both West's and Vince P's songs.
Wood was referring to Kelly Clarkson's "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)." That's one of 30 songs referencing Nietzsche's words in Jason Newman's What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger" Pop Song Supercut for Slacktory last year. There's strength in these numbers.
[Image via Getty]