Cardi B emerged victorious from a Santa Ana courthouse after winning a five-year copyright infringement lawsuit over the cover art of her 2016 mixtape Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1.
In the 2017 lawsuit, a man named Kevin Michael Brophy Jr. claimed that the cover, which depicted a man with his tiger back tattoo performing oral sex on the rapper, led to "uncomfortable comments, questions, and ridicule." The image of Brophy's tattoo, which had appeared in tattoo magazines, had been photoshopped onto a model, whose face was not visible.
Brophy alleged that Cardi B had "misappropriated the unique likeness" of his body art to "launch her career in music and entertainment." During her testimony earlier this week, the 30-year-old rapper shot back at Brophy, saying he had harassed her for five years, noting that she missed her child's "first step" due to the trial. At one point, the trial was briefly halted by the judge due to an "intense exchange" between Cardi B and Brophy's attorney, Barry Cappello.
Now, following the four-day trial, a California jury ruled that the album cover did not in fact cast Brophy in a false light, thus absolving the rapper and her former manager Klenord Raphael of paying some $5 million in damages. Cardi B's legal team had argued that the use of the design qualified as "transformative" under IP law, and that the model who actually posed on the cover was "Black, with hair" while Brophy is "middle-aged Caucasian."
Nonetheless, Cappello told Reuters via email that the rapper and her legal team were "gracious winners and shook hands with Brophy after the verdict." Cardi B meanwhile took to Twitter to share her excitement about the decision, saying, "I wanna kiss God's feet right now...I'm beyond grateful."
Photo via Getty / Frazer Harrison
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