NEWS: Freeway Rick Ross, Warner Brothers Going To Trial Over Rapper’s Name 'Rick Ross' (@rickyrozay)?
Lawyers for Warner Brothers and former drug kingpin/community activist Freeway Ricky Ross faced off in court yesterday (January 9), in downtown Los Angeles.
Both sides were in Superior Court, for a hearing in the ongoing battle over the name “Rick Ross.”
Judge Rita Miller finally set an August date for a trial by Jury, to hear the lawyers’ arguments regarding the case.
Freeway Ricky Ross told AllHipHop.com that he would be deposing some of the industry’s biggest executives in the case, all of whom are associated with the rapper Rick Ross.
“We will be deposing Sean Combs, Stephen Cooper, Lyor Cohen and Todd Moscowitz,” Freeway Ricky Ross told AllHipHop.com today (January 9).
Freeway Ricky Ross claims that despite the ongoing court battle, Rick Ross is still flagrantly ripping off his image.
The rapper recently revealed the title of his upcoming sixth album will be titled Mastermind.
According to Freeway Ricky Ross, the rapper continues to subtly, or not so subtly associate himself with words, images and phrases that will fool fans – or search engines.
“He uses Mastermind that’s exactly how the Wall Street Journal described me and my life story,” Freeway Ricky Ross pointed out to AllHipHop.com.
Rick Ross dropped a slick trailer for his new album Mastermind earlier this week.
It featured Curtis Mayfield’s classic “Gimme Your Love,” along with a shot of the cover from the soundtrack to the 1972 movie “Superfly.”
“This guy is literally trying to have people confuse him with me as an actual person,” Freeway Ricky Ross told AllHipHop.com. “In every interview I mention ‘Superfly’ as the movie that pushed me into powder cocaine. I even said it in the VH1′s ‘Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and The Crack Generation,’ that was shown around the world. Then he comes out with this new video with the ‘Superfly’ movie cover as the centerpiece?”
Rick Ross the rapper, born William Leonard Roberts III, has been the subject of a trademark infringement lawsuit since June of 2010.
Freeway Ricky Ross is a former drug kingpin with a cult following, who served over 25 years in prison.
He was convicted of heading up a large-scale drug empire in the 1980s and nineties, that was infamously tied to President Ronald Reagan and the Iran-Contra Scandal.
The staggering amounts of drugs that Freeway Ricky Ross pushed around the country have been the subject of numerous documentaries and news articles, including the Pulitzer prize-winning series from the San Jose Mercury titled “Dark Alliance” by Gary Webb.
Freeway Ricky Ross’ original $10 million lawsuit claimed that rapper Rick Ross used these sources to steal his image and turn it into a multi-million dollar brand.
That lawsuit was dismissed in November 2010, when a judge ruled that Freeway Ricky Ross could not have used his illegal activity to trademark the name “Rick Ross” in the first place.
Freeway Ricky Ross appealed the ruling, but lost another round in court on a technicality in March of 2012, when a judge ruled that he waited too long to file a new lawsuit.
In July of 2012 he was granted an appeal to file a case against Warner Music, the label that markets the rapper’s Maybach Music Group, which features artists like Wale, Meek Mill, Gunplay, Triple C’s, Stalley and others
“The use of my name and image helps him in internet search globally. Its career launching high value to be believed to be the only hip hop artist on this list,” Freeway Rick Ross told AllHipHop.com. “Initially it grounded his career in the confusion, now it helps clean up the inauthenticity that came out about being an officer. I don’t need my name and image diluted and confused that way without license. The use of the ‘Superfly’ movie in this new video is directly connected with me personally as said prior.”
A Jury will hear arguments from both sides in Los Angeles Superior Court, on August 27.
“We feel good about our case, and look forward to letting an LA jury make the decision,” Freeway Ricky Ross told AllHipHop.com.