Former drug kingpin Freeway Ricky Ross is going to have to come up with another game plan for attacking rap star Rick Ross over using his name to market himself after losing a new lawsuit.
According to reports, Ricky Rozay has been cleared for use of Freeway’s name despite handfuls of court battles.
The former cocaine kingpin who claims that rapper Rick Ross stole his name and identity cannot sue, a California appeals court ruled. “We recognize that Roberts’ work – his music and persona as a rap musician – relies to some extent on plaintiff’s name and persona,” Presiding Justice Roger Boren wrote for the court. “Roberts chose to use the name ‘Rick Ross.’ He raps about trafficking in cocaine and brags about his wealth. These were ‘raw materials’ from which Roberts’ music career was synthesized. But these are not the very sum and substance’ of Roberts’ work.” (Courthouse News)
Presiding Justice Roger Boren detailed why the panel did not rule in Freeway’s favor.
“Roberts created a celebrity identity, using the name Rick Ross, of a cocaine kingpin turned rapper. He was not simply an imposter seeking to profit solely off the name and reputation of Rick Ross. Rather, he made music out of fictional tales of dealing drugs and other exploits -some of which related to plaintiff. Using the name and certain details of an infamous criminal’s life as basic elements, he created original artistic works. A work is transformative if it adds ‘new expression.'” (Courthouse News)
Freeway also could not win over a judge in a dispute against Ricky Rozay and his record company earlier this year.
On Wednesday, a judge rejected claims made by “Freeway” Ricky Ross — who ran a notorious drug empire that covered Los Angeles in the 1980s and 1990s — against Warner Bros. Records over the career of hip hop star Rick Ross. The first Ross says the second Ross (born William Leonard Roberts II) stole his name and likeness, with the help of Jay-Z and others in the music industry. Unfortunately for the plaintiff, who was released from prison in 2009 on good behavior and now counsels youth, he’s been having trouble convincing a judge that he brought his claims soon enough over a rapper who has been around a decade. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Despite the tough uphill battle, Freeway refused to give up and was seeking help from an appeals court.
“Freeway” Ross is now preparing for the battle in an appeals court. “California Appeals Court briefs are due in a few weeks,” Ross tells us. “Judge believes that even a new contract still falls under Single publication, our position is that it is republication as in Nestle v. Chistophe. We feel good about our case. This is classic republication as to all defendants there was consistently new music, management decisions and product made. The statute of limitations was never meant to be used to hide defendants actively infringing with new decisions and campaigns.” (The Hollywood Reporter)
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