Boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather might not knock everyone’s socks off with his novel business practices (keeping $123 million in a cash bank account?) or his curious posse members (Justin Bieber?), but he packs some serious pugilistic talent — and now he’s scored a legal KO at the appellate level over a musical contender who challenged him over copyright issues for music used when he entered the ring and at some big-time wrestling events. Let’s go to a speed round to see how only the champ could bring together copyright, rap, and boxing into one ring or shall we say courtroom.
Until a recent falling-out, Mayweather had rapper 50 cent as part of his entourage. And in 2008, when Mayweather fought and beat the “Big Show” it was no different. It was expected he would enter the ring, 50 cent with him, marching in proudly to one of the rapper’s creations. Plans changed. Mayweather entered to the song Yep, whose beat was produced by Anthony Lawrence Dash. Mayweather also used the song at World Wrestling Entertainment shows, Wrestlemania XXIV and Raw Guest Host.
As Courthouse News’ entertainment law site reports — and thanks to them for posting case documents online — Dash claimed that neither Mayweather nor the WWE had rights to his song and infringed on his copyright. Dash sued in April, 2010, in a federal court in South Carolina, where he lost because he failed to prove he had an established copyright at the time Mayweather used the song; he also failed to produce evidence that he ever received compensation for any of his work, and, thus, the courts said he could not have suffered a loss and received damages.
The appellate decision offers some interesting reading on expert consultants and testimony about economic issues. A big takeaway may be not only that plaintiff paid for lots of legal work on a claim, which, if reports about Mayweather may be believed, amount to sums less than he’s known to carry in his pocket.
As with many rap songs, Yep contains strong language and it’s likely unsuitable to blast in most law offices but here’s the material in question for those who may have missed it: