Rick Ross has been going through a battle with former drug lord Freeway Rick Ross over using his name and it has finally been put to rest. Back in March a judge ruled against Freeway Ricky which claimed he waited too long to file the lawsuit against Rozay, but Freeway wasn’t going to give up that easy and he followed up in appeals court.
The result of Freeway’s appeal in court wasn’t what he was expecting. The judge Roger Boren dismissed the case due to the First Amendment.
“We recognize that Roberts’ work—his music and persona as a rap musician—relies to some extent on plaintiff’s name and persona,” Judge Boren stated. “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.” (THR)
Judge Boren finds the hip-hop superstar’s image is authorized to protection as expressive speech because it’s transformative.
“Roberts created a celebrity identity, using the name Rick Ross, of a cocaine kingpin turned rapper,” says the ruling. “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.” (THR)