Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson has lost his lawsuit against rival rapper Rick Ross over an unauthorized sampling of his song “In Da Club.”
In a $2 million trademark infringement lawsuit that has lasted 5 years, 50 Cent claimed that his rights to publicity were violated after Rick Ross used the song in his 2015 Renzel Remixes mixtape.
The song was released in 2003 on Jackson’s chart-topping album Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
The U.S. Appeals Court on Wednesday upheld the decision of a lower court that ruled in Ross’ favour in 2018. The lower court found that because Jackson signed away his rights to the song and his right of publicity to his labels in the recording agreement, that he couldn’t sue Ross for sampling the song.
According to court papers obtained by Billboard, 50 Cent recorded “In Da Club” pursuant to an agreement with his then-record label, Shady Records/Aftermath Records (“Shady/Aftermath”) that specified “Jackson owns no copyright interest in ‘In Da Club.’”
In addition, Jackson also granted to Shady/Aftermath the “perpetual and exclusive rights during the term of [the Recording Agreement],” and a non-exclusive right thereafter, to use Jackson’s name and likeness “for the purposes of trade, or for advertising purposes … in connection with the marketing and exploitation of Phonograph Records and Covered Videos,” court papers state.
In agreeing with the lower court’s decision, the appeals court ruled that Ross was “presumably liable for copyright infringement to Shady/Aftermath, but not” to 50 Cent.
The court said 50 Cent may have the right to either urge Shady/Aftermath to sue Ross for copyright infringement as well as seek damages from which 50 Cent could be warranted a royalty or seek damages from Shady/Aftermath for neglecting to protect 50’s right to royalties by suing Roberts.
The court ultimately decided that 50 Cent didn’t have the right to personally sue Ross.