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Hip-Hop News: Rosa Parks Lawsuit Reinstated Against Outkast
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Posted by Sarah
Rap News Network
6/26/2003 9:22:47 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Outkast.

After a federal appeals court ruled in May that Rosa Parks could appeal a lawsuit she filed against Outkast over their hit song that uses her name in the title, a judge has reinstated most of the original lawsuit.

Parks' initial lawsuit had been dismissed on summary judgment in 1999. Parks will now attempt to prove her case against the platinum plus selling rap group.

According to the more recent court ruling, the "artists sought to play on the relationship between Ms. Parks and the phrase "'move to the back of the bus.'”

Parks' high profile attorney, Johnny Cochran, presented new evidence claiming that Parks had approved an album of gospel recordings titled Verity Records Presents: A Tribute to Mrs. Rosa Parks and that she received reports of consumers seeking to purchase the tribute album, but instead accidentally bought Outkasts' Aquemeni album, due to the prominent promotion of the "Rosa Parks" song.

Cochran presented 21 affidavits from people who said they had been "fooled into buying the rap album out of a belief that it had something to do with Parks and the civil rights movement."

When the defendants claimed that the First Amendment allowed them to name their song titles whatever they choose, the 6th Circuit panel disagreed, stating “the First Amendment cannot permit anyone who cries ‘artist’ to have carte blanche when it comes to naming and advertising his or her works, art though it may be.”

The judges said that using Rosa Parks' name was a "good marketing move" since "’Rosa Parks’ was likely to sell far more recordings than ‘Back of the Bus.’”

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