The next time somebody wants to make a documentary about you, think twice, or maybe two million or more times: Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., aka Lil Wayne, is unhappy with a film about him. The Carter was begun in 2007 and released in 2009 by Digerati Holdings, Quincy Jones III and others. In 2009, Carter’s company,Young Money Entertainment, sued the filmmakers in Los Angeles Superior Court, asserting breach of contract and further claims related to the release and distribution of The Carter. He says the filmmakers violated his right to give final approval for content and shots that depicted criminal activities. There were scenes showing Carter smoking marijuana and drinking a lot of cough syrup. Carter has sought $50 million for lost sponsorships, damage to his reputation and possible complications in his then-upcoming criminal trial on felony gun charges. The battling over this film has taken more than its share of twists and turns:In 2011, Digerati Holdings filed a cross-complaint, and, after appeal, its breach of contract charge against Carter survived. A jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants on Nov. 8 and Carter was assessed $2.195 million in damages because he had blocked the release of the documentary about him, negatively impacting its profits. Elena Gorgan tells some tales out of court.
Just weeks earlier, on Sept. 6, Carter filed a different lawsuit in Los Angeles against the filmmakers in a federal district court, claiming unfair competition and copyright infringement for using some of his songs. On Nov. 15, U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II, granted in part and denied in part the defendants’ motion to dismiss, allowing the copyright infringement claim to go forward.
Jeff D. Gorman has reported that Carter cooperated with the filmmakers until they previewed the documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009, without allowing Carter what he believed was his promised right of final approval. The problem? The film shows him using drugs while he was on parole, and in 2010, Lil Wayne did eight months on Rikers Island.