American rap star Jay-Z has sued an online Australian retailer over unlawful use of his name and hit song “99 Problems” in books that teach children the alphabet.
According to reports, Jay Z filed a lawsuit at a Federal Court of Australia on November 22nd claiming Australian brand “The Little Homie” had infringed on his intellectual property.
Jay Z’s lawyers stated that the company traded on his likeness and infringed on the copyright of the lyrics to “99 Problems”.
The Little Homie uses its website to advertise a “hip-hop inspired” children’s book called “A B to Jay-Z” for Au$34.95, as well as a colouring book of the same name for Au$19.95.
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Pages of the books riff off the lyrics to “99 Problems”; “If you’re having alphabet problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but my ABC’s ain’t one!” a photo posted on The Little Homie’s website showed.
The lawsuit stated that Jay-Z had asked the company to stop selling the books in March 2018 but they refused and “deliberately and knowingly” use his likeness and lyrics in a “flagrant, glaring” manner, according to The Age. The use of the rapper’s name, image and lyrics was “calculated to injure, has injured and is continuing to injure the reputation and goodwill of Mr Carter,” it continued.
The case is scheduled for an initial hearing on December 6.