Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter
Rapper Rick Ross has won a lawsuit filed against him by former drug kingpin ‘Freeway’ Ricky Ross over the use of the Rick Ross name. The judge ruled that William Leonard Roberts (rapper Rick Ross) is protected under First Amendment rights.
“We recognize that Roberts’ work—his music and persona as a rap musician—relies to some extent on plaintiff’s name and persona, …..”Roberts chose to use the name ‘Rick Ross.’ He raps about trafficking in cocaine and brags about his wealth. These were ‘raw materials’ from which Roberts’ music career was synthesized. But these are not the ‘very sum and substance’ of Roberts’ work”. -Judge Boren THR
“Roberts created a celebrity identity, using the name Rick Ross, of a cocaine kingpin turned rapper,” he was not simply an impostor seeking to profit solely off the name and reputation of Rick Ross. Rather, he made music out of fictional tales of dealing drugs and other exploits—some of which related to plaintiff. Using the name and certain details of an infamous criminal’s life as basic elements, he created original artistic works.”-Judge Boren THR