Southern rapper Rick Ross has addressed a recent copyright infringement lawsuit filed against him and Def Jam by former drug kingpin Freeway Ricky Ross.
Despite the threat of being legally forced to change his rap alias, Ross said he was not concerned over the suit.
“Naw…we just gonna let the people deal with that,” Ross said referring to attorneys. “It’s like owning a restaurant, you’re gonna have a few slip and falls. You get lawsuits, you deal with them, and get them out your way…sometimes you lose.” (All Hip Hop)
Freeway is also trying to block the release of Ross’ upcoming Teflon Don album.
Ross has officially filed the suit in federal court in California to the tune of $10 million. He claims the Boss stole his name and identity and wants to stop the sale of his album. Along with Ross, the ex-con also names Jay-Z, Def Jam, Universal Music Group and Vivendi in the suit. Ricky reportedly asserts trademark and his rights of publicity in seeking an injunction that would prevent the rapper from using the “Rick Ross” name or releasing any albums using it. He also says that the U.S. Patent and Trademark office has refused to let the rapper trademark the name. (XXL Mag)
Freeway’s nephew/rapper, Slim da Mobster, has also addressed Ross’ usage of the name.
“So for me, it just be funny when I hear a n*gga use somebody that I actually know’s name and it comes to [known] for one, [Rick Ross] was a cop or a C.O., police, worker, whatever. Now you’re confusing people with this picture you painted. That’s like you painting a picture and me takin’ credit for it. That’s like your picture with my signature at the bottom of it. That ain’t cool. When you’ve sat in prison for over 20 years for this sh*t, I don’t want anybody using my name unless you’re along those lines or you’re of that caliber.” (Hip Hop DX)
Past reports suggest Freeway has been trying to stop Ross from using his name for the past four years.
The ex-convict claims his lawyers sent cease-and-desist letters to executives at music label Def Jam in 2006, after they signed Roberts, to protest “the exploitation and misuse of his name”. He maintains he received no response from music bosses and claims the star went on to profit from the moniker “without his consent”. (Contact Music)
Teflon Don is scheduled to drop July 2010.
Check out Freeway Ricky Ross speaking on Rick Ross down below: