Get Rich or Die Tryin': 50 Cent's Copyright Challenger - Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
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Get Rich or Die Tryin’: 50 Cent’s Copyright Challenger

Get Rich or Die Tryin’: 50 Cent’s Copyright Challenger

Rapper 50 Cent, also known as Curtis Jackson, is out of court today and back in da club after a federal judge in New Jersey dismissed a copyright suit brought against him. Shadrach Winstead of Newark had claimed that his 2008 autobiography, “Preacher’s Son – But the Streets Turned Me Into A Gangster,” provided much of the dialogue and plot for 50 Cent’s CD and DVD, “Before I Self-Destruct,” produced in 2009. He also argued that the rapper had copied original phrases from his book, such as “cut the dope.”

The court, however, did not agree and has dismissed the infringement suit. As the New Jersey Law Journal reports, District Judge Stanley Chesler ruled that the superficial thematic similarities between Winstead’s book and 50 Cent’s movie, involving the narrative of a young man from the inner city who gets caught up in a life of crime, fell under the “scenes a faire” doctrine of copyright law. The phrases and scenarios in the book are generic examples that can be found in gangster movies, hip-hop music, and pop culture more generally, and therefore are not subject to copyright protection.

Oh well, can’t blame a guy for trying…

Diana DiLeonardo

Diana DiLeonardo is a second year student at Fordham Law. She grew up on Long Island and graduated from NYU in 2010 with degrees in history and politics. Her interests include singing, anything that involves chocolate, and the New York Yankees.