50 Cent just lost a five-year legal battle against another rap mogul Rick Ross. The lawsuit was dated back since 2015 when 50 filed against his rival for remixing his hit “In Da Club” on Rozay’s Renzel Remixes mixtape. Cent was asking for upwards of $2 million from Ross for using the beat without his permission.
Three years later, in 2018, a judge tossed the case because 50 Cent does not own the copyright or master recordings for the song that belongs to Shady/Aftermath Records. Also, the judge ruled then that since 50 Cent did sign away his rights to the song as part of his agreement with Shady/Aftermath, he is illegible to sue Rick Ross for sampling it. Therefore, the case was dismissed without merit.
Meanwhile, Fif appealed, and this week, the Second Circuit of Appeals in NYC ruled in favor of Ross. Despite Rick Ross not asking for approval of Cent to use the song on his mixtape, his recording agreement already meant that he had “surrendered his rights to the use of his name, performance, and likeness associated with the master recording of ‘In Da Club’ in connection with the advertising and marketing of ‘Phonograph Records,” Complex learns.
On the other hand, the appeals court ruled that Ross was liable for copyright infringement to Shady/Aftermath but not to 50 Cent. But since he cannot personally sue the Maybach Music icon, he may request that Shady/Aftermath take legal action against Ross or seek damages from Shady/Aftermath for neglecting to protect his right to royalties by suing Rozay.
“Today is a victory for talented artists, as well as those seeking to license the use of music,” Ross’ lawyer at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP said. “The Second Circuit’s opinion reaffirms the creativity of artists to freely express their performances in sampling or remixing of popular songs, while at the same time, still guaranteeing that those who seek to license such songs (from a publisher or copyright holder) may do so without necessarily having to separately obtain or contractually negotiate one’s right of publicity.”
“Furthermore, Mr. Roberts’ remix of ‘In Da Club’ was never about Mr. Jackson – but was simply one of many remixes on his mixtape album, which also featured songs by Adele, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, and Lil Wayne. Artists often perform lyrics in sampling or remixing songs of other artists, as it has long been a staple of hip-hop music.”
Thus, 50 Cent has exhausted his appeal in the case. Now his only legal option would be to take it to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The rap moguls have been at odds for years now. 50 Cent had been ordered in 2015 to pay a $7 million judgment for uploading a sex tape featuring Ross’ baby mama. Fif declared bankruptcy to protect his assets.