On Friday, American rapper Cardi-B walked out of California Court after the federal jury ruled that she has not ‘misused’ a man’s image on the cover of her first 2016 mixtape album.
The album, titled Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1, “did not violate plaintiff Kevin Michael Brophy’s publicity or privacy rights by depicting an altered photo of another man with Brophy’s unique back tattoo performing oral sex on the popular rapper,” the jury remarked after the trial went on for four days.
Brophy, who filed the lawsuit in 2017, sought at least $5 million in damages from the popular rapper and her ex-manager Klenord Raphael.
Barry Cappello, who represented Brophy, said in an email to Reuters that Cardi B and Raphael were “gracious winners” and shook hands with Brophy after the verdict. “If this chapter can close, it may be best for the Brophy family’s ability to put this behind them,” Cappello added.
Brophy had revealed that he faced “uncomfortable comments, questions, and ridicule” after Cardi B released the explicit mixtape cover featuring a man with Brophy’s distinctive tattoo photoshopped onto his back. Cardi-B’s defence, however, said that that the cover’s use of the design qualifies as “transformative” under intellectual property law and is constitutionally protected.
The tattoo was used “in an anonymous manner, as a single building block” in the complex cover image, Cardi B said in a court filing.