Friday, a jury ruled in favor of Cardi B in a copyright infringement lawsuit involving a man who claimed the Grammy-winning rapper borrowed his back tattoos for the sexually provocative cover art of her 2016 mixtape.
The Southern California federal jury ruled Kevin Michael Brophy did not demonstrate that Cardi B improperly utilized his likeness. Following the jury forewoman’s announcement of the verdict, the artist embraced her attorneys and appeared elated.
Cardi B thanked the jury and admitted she was “very anxious” prior to hearing the judgment.
“I wasn’t sure if I would win or lose,” she remarked as she left the courthouse. She was surrounded by reporters, cameras, and over forty high school students who yelled her name. Yes, I’ll see what I can do, she responded when a fan held up a placard asking her to take him to his homecoming dance.
“I vowed myself that if I won, I would curse Mr. Brophy out. But I cannot bring myself to curse at him “She stated, Cardi B had a brief talk with Brophy and shook his hand in the courtroom.
A year after the release of the rapper’s 2016 mixtape, Brophy filed the complaint. He described himself as a “family man with small children” and claimed that the artwork, which depicted a tattooed man with his head between the rapper’s knees in a limousine, caused him “distress and embarrassment.” The man’s face is not visible.
Cardi B was told by Brophy, “I appreciate you as an artist at the end of the day.”
A. Barry Cappello, Brophy’s attorney, stated that photo-editing software was used to place the back tattoo, which has appeared in tattoo magazines, on the mixtape cover model.
Cardi B, whose real name is Belcalis Almanzar, refuted the claims during her evidence earlier in the week, and her exchange with Cappello was so heated that U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney temporarily halted the trial.
Cardi B stated that she believed Brophy had faced no repercussions as a result of the artwork. She claims that Brophy has legally hounded her for five years, and at one point she missed the “first walk” of her youngest kid due to the trial.
Cardi B stated that a tattoo artist used only a “little section” of her tattoos without her permission. She had earlier stated that Timm Gooden’s cover image was a transformative fair use of Brophy’s likeness.
Cappello stated that Gooden was paid $50 to develop a design, but after submitting an early concept, he was instructed to locate another tattoo. He stated that Gooden googled “back tattoos” before to pasting an image onto the cover.
Peter Anderson, Cardi B’s attorney, stated that Brophy and the mixtape image are unrelated, pointing out that the model did not have neck tattoos, whereas Brophy has.
“It’s not your client’s back,” Cardi B stated regarding the photograph of a Black model. Brophy is white in complexion. The rapper drew attention to the fact that she shared a picture of the “renowned Canadian model” on social media.
“He is not the culprit,” she continued. “To me, that doesn’t look like his back at all. The modification of the tattoo is protected by the First Amendment.”
Cardi B stated that Brophy’s career with a prominent surf and skate apparel brand and his ability to travel the world for chances had not been affected by his image.
“He has not been dismissed from his job,” the rapper said, implying that the mixtape was not profitable for her. “He has not been divorced. How has he endured pain? He is still employed in a surf shop. Please describe his suffering.”
Cardi B pled guilty last month to a felony case coming from two brawls in New York City strip clubs and was sentenced to 15 days of community service. The rapper was won $1.25 million earlier this year in a defamation lawsuit against a celebrity news blogger who broadcast videos falsely claiming she used cocaine, developed herpes, and engaged in prostitution.