Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Cardi B, Billboard's Woman of the Year, will be facing a jury of her peers after U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney rejected her claims of fair use for using Kevin Brophy's back tattoo on her 2016 mixtape "Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1."
In 2017, Kevin Brophy filed a lawsuit against Cardi B, KSR, and Washpoppin Inc, alleging she misrepresented his likeness by placing an image of him on the cover of her mixtape, explicitly misrepresenting him having sex with her.
Brophy believes Cardi B misappropriated his likeness in "a misleading, offensive, humiliating and provocatively sexual way" in order to launch her career.
Cardi B countered by filing for a summary judgment on all claims based on "transformative use."
The guy who created the mixtape cover, Tim Gooden, who is not a professional graphic designer, testified he Googled back tattoos and found Brophy's image. He copied the back tattoo and manipulated it to fit on the back of Cardi B's photoshoot model. Ole Girl's team argued that the manipulation done was enough to "transform" Brophy's image into something different than the original work.
On Friday, the judge, not impressed by that Lil dangly thing in the back of her throat, denied Bardi's request. In summary, it takes more than copying, pasting, and tilting a photo to claim transformative use.
"There is no dispute that Gooden made some changes. But there is also no dispute that the content he worked with was copied and pasted from a photo of Plaintiff's tattoo. And significant elements of Plaintiff's tattoo remain untouched in the final album cover. Most significantly, defining elements including the tiger and snake remain virtually unchanged." - Excerpt From Ruling
Welp, in June 2021, Cardi B gets to dress up for court, and I doubt she will be wearing blackface on that day.
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