50 Cent (Bloomberg News)
The rapper 50 Cent, with the help of a Miami attorney, has won a copyright infringement case against a music company executive who repeatedly posted his photograph and music on a hip-hop subscriber website.
Curtis James Jackson, whose stage name is 50 Cent, filed suit against Lee Q. Odenate. The rapper was represented by attorneys including lawyer Karen L. Stetson, a shareholder at GrayRobinson in Miami.
U.S. District Judge John Kennan in New York granted summary judgment last week in favor of 50 Cent on claims of copyright infringement and right to publicity.
Kennan denied summary judgment to 50 Cent on his claims of false endorsement, trademark infringement and common law unfair competition claims.
Odenate launched a website in 2005 called worldstarhiphop.com and featured hip-hop mix tapes as well as some videos of hip-hop musicians.
Kennan wrote in his 51-page order that Odenat used 50 Cent’s image at least three times on his website’s masthead and allowed subscribers to hear samples of his music from 2005 to 2009.
Odenate brought a third-party claim against Yves Mondesir, alleging Mondesir held himself out to be 50 Cent’s manager and authorized use of the rapper’s image and music.
Kennan denied Odenate’s motion for summary judgment in the case and set an April 16 status conference to discuss how the case will proceed.
Jackson gained prominence as the leader of the East Coast hip hop group G-Unit. He reached stardom in 2003 with the release of his albums “Get Rich or Die Tryin,’ ” which has been certified eight times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America
Jackson was discovered by rapper Eminem after he nearly lost his life in 2000 when he was shot nine times, including in the face. He adopted his stage name 50 Cent as a metaphor for change.
“50 Cent has always taken his intellectual property rights seriously and, in fact, used his first signing bonus in the music business to register his trademarks,” Stetson said. “A trial is expected to take place in the next several month on the issue of damages. Plaintiff is seeking $10 to $15 million based on the amount of money 50 Cent’s image commanded in the marketplace for endorsement deals during the time period in question. “