Journalist files copyright lawsuit targeting Tupac Shakur biopic

| Jun 26, 2017 | Copyright Law

About 20 years ago, rapper, activist and actor Tupac Shakur took the world by storm with his unique and honest style of rap. Unfortunately, he blew out of this world as dramatically as he blew into it when he was gunned down in 1996. His legacy, however, has survived and in the eyes of many, it has even thrived.

As it did with other American musical icons like Michael Jackson and Biggie Smalls, the film industry became interested in backing a biopic depicting Tupac Shakur’s untold story. Helmed by Benny Boom and starring Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Shakur, the film “All Eyez on Me” is currently playing in theaters across the country.

However, not everyone is happy about the film. Kevin Powell, former journalist for Vibe, would like to see the film pulled and he would also like to receive a share of its profits, which are said to be over $31 million. In pursuit of these goals, Powell has filed a copyright lawsuit targeting Lionsgate and film’s producer, among others.

Powell claims the filmmakers used fictional characters he created during a series of interviews he did with Shakur 20 years ago. Powell says that the fictional characters were created to hide certain real identities and to protect Tupac while helping to narrate the content of the interviews. He alleges that the filmmakers essentially lifted these characters and placed them directly into the film without his consent and without crediting him for his extensive work.

The creative atmosphere of California puts its residents at high risk for intellectual property theft. Copyright law is a complex part of the legal system, yet it is incredibly important in providing protections for intellectual works. Finding a lawyer with experience in helping protect and preserve this kind of property is crucial.

Source: Deadline, “Tupac Biopic ‘All Eyez On Me’ & Lionsgate Hit With Copyright Lawsuit By Journalist,” Dominic Patten, June 23, 2017