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Jay-Z Wins Copyright Battle

Written by Fozia Cheychi on 28 September 2016

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Dwayne Walker- a New York based designer had accused the rapper his former business partner Damon Dash, and executives at Universal Music Group of breach of contract and copyright infringement. A US federal judge has now dismissed the lawsuit- which was valued at $7m (£5.38m) in unpaid royalties over the use of the Roc-A-Fella Records logo. The lawsuit claimed that Walker had created artwork depicting a vinyl record for Jay Z’s label. According to Reuters, the Roc-A-Fella logo comprises of a superimposed “R” and a champagne bottle over an LP, and it appears on items that have generated millions of dollars in sales.

Jay-Z, co-founder Damon Dash, Roc-A-Fella and its parent company, Universal Music Group, denied Walker’s claims, and stated that the contentious logo had been designed by an in house art director.

Walker had alleged that he had designed the artwork in 1995, and that a vinyl record logo was the basis for the Roc-A-Fella design.
In the decision made by US district judge Andrew Carter in Manhattan, it was ruled that Walker was not entitled to royalties under a contract reportedly signed by the co- founder of Roc-A-Fella- Damon Dash 20 years ago. In the 32-page decision, the judge found a lack of evidence that the contract existed. Judge Carter further wrote “This leaves only plaintiff’s own self-serving testimony that he drafted the contract, that he and Dash signed it and that he lost of track of it in 1998. This testimony alone is not enough. Judge Carter also commented that Walker, who filed the lawsuit in 2012- 5 years after the logo was created had waited too long to sue.

Walker is reportedly planning to appeal the decision.

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