Cardi B Cleared in $5 Million Mixtape Cover Copyright Lawsuit

According to Rolling Stone, Cardi B has won her court battle regarding a copyright infringement case involving a man who claimed the Grammy-winning rapper misused his back tattoos for her 2016 debut mixtape cover art for Gangsta B*tch Music, Vol. 1.

Kevin Michael Brophy filed the lawsuit and sued the rapper’s stating he was caused ” distress and humiliation ” by the artwork – which showed a tattooed man from behind with his head between the rapper’s legs inside a limousine. The man’s face cannot be seen.

Though the male model’s face was not shown on the cover, his back featured a tiger and serpent tattoo that was added during the editing process. Lawyers for both parties said the distinct body art was found on the internet.

Brophy claimed the image was a misappropriation of his likeness, as the tattoos looked nearly identical to his own ink. His attorneys argued that the Photoshopped art has led many to believe that Brophy was the man on the cover; as a result, the plaintiff suffered anxiety and reputational harm.

“It felt like my Michelangelo was stolen off the wall and just literally ripped off and robbed and just put wherever these people wanted to put it,” Brophy originally testified. “It looks like I’m giving oral sex to somebody that’s not my wife, somebody that’s not my partner, and an image that I never signed off on, ever.”

Cardi also testified saying, “There is not one evidence where people believe it’s actually him… hasn’t gotten fired from his job. He hasn’t gotten a divorce. How has he suffered? … Please tell me how he’s suffered.”

The federal jury in Southern California on Friday (Oct. 21), ruled Kevin Michael Brophy did not prove Cardi B misappropriated his likeness. After the jury forewoman read the verdict, the rapper hugged her attorneys and appeared joyful.

Cardi B thanked the jurors, admitting she was “pretty nervous” before hearing the verdict. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to lose or not,” she said after leaving the courthouse to ABC reporter.

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