Rick Ross, the American rapper, has won a three-year legal battle with convicted drug trafficker "Freeway" Rick Ross over the alleged appropriation of his name.
The reformed gangster, who was jailed in 1996 for 13 years, filed a suit against the hip hop artist in 2010, asking for $10million for appropriating his name after reportedly seeing a magazine which included the Miami rapper's stage moniker. However, last week a judge ruled in favour of the rapper, also known as William Leonard Roberts II, citing that he is protected under the First Amendment.
"We recognize that Roberts' work-his music and persona as a rap musician-relies to some extent on plaintiff's name and persona," Judge Roger Boren said in a statement published in The Hollywood Reporter. "Roberts chose to use the name 'Rick Ross'. He raps about trafficking in cocaine and brags about his wealth. These were 'raw materials' from which Roberts' music career was synthesized. But these are not the 'very sum and substance' of Roberts' work."