50 Cent Beats Copyright Claim Against “Before I Self Destruct” Album and Movie
According to the Wall Street Journal, a man named Shadrach Winstead, who wrote about growing up on the streets of Newark, claimed that 50 Cent stole his story for his CD and accompanying movie Before I Self Destruct.
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his label moved to dismiss the complaint, stating the copyright infringement claim failed because Winstead’s book and Jackson’s album and film are not substantially similar.
Winstead accused 50 Cent of taking passages, themes and story-lines from his book The Preachers Son- But the Streets Turned Me into a Gangster.
In contention were the phrases “get the dope, cut this dope,” “let’s keep it popping,” and “the strong takes from the weak, but the smart takes from everybody.” found in Winstead’s book.
According to the court, it was merely irony that they were similar to the 50 Cent song which included the lyrics, “get the dope, cut the dope, get the dope,” “let’s get it popping,” “the strong sit down, but the weak work for me.”
“They are either common in general or common with respect to hip hop culture, and do not enjoy copyright protection. The average person reading or listening to these phrases in the context of an overall story or song would not regard them as unique and protectable,” said the appeal panel in a statement.
The court also shot down the idea that 50 Cent stole the plot from Winstead.
Despite the fact that 50 Cent won the lawsuit, Winstead’s lawyer is still in opposition to the verdict.
“What I find controversial is the Third Circuit’s adoption of Judge [Stanley] Chesler’s conclusion that there is one rule of law applicable to inner-city phrases and street language, and a different rule for language and phrases used by white people in the suburbs,” Winstead’s lawyer said.