Rapper Rick Ross Beats 50 Cent’s Claim Over ‘In Da Club’ Sample

Written August 25, 2020

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on August 17, 2020, held that US Copyright Act preempts rapper 50 Cent from pursuing right of publicity claims over another rapper’s mixtape sample of the hit “In Da Club.” In re Jackson, 2d Cir., No. 19-480, 8/19/20.

Rick Ross released the free mixtape “Renzel Remixes” in 2015 which includes Ross rapping over the instrumental from “In Da Club” with a thirty-second sample of 50 Cent singing the refrain.

50 Cent sued Ross for violating his state right of publicity.

The Second Circuit affirmed the lower court’s ruling for Ross, finding Jackson’s claim preempted both impliedly and expressly by the Copyright Act. In the right-of-publicity context, the court said such interests may include preventing consumer deception, protecting privacy, or guarding against reputational harm. But Roberts didn’t use Jackson’s name or persona in a way that implied Jackson endorsed him or his work, was derogatory, or invaded his privacy, the court said.

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