From music to movies, 50 Cent has faced down a plethora of lawsuits in the past. Now, the Wall Street Journal reveals that the Queens rapper has won yet another suit, this time against an author who claims Fif stole portions of Before I Self Destruct from his book.
New Jersey author Shadrach Winstead claims that 50 Cent stole the plot of his novel The Preacher’s Son – But the Streets Turned Me Into A Gangster. He also said that the rapper stole portions of his writing for the lyrics of a song used in the accompanying film for his album Before I Self Destruct.
Like Fif’s film and album, the novel follows the story of a rising inner city hustler who looks for redemption. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Manhattan has upheld a decision today to dismiss Winstead’s claims of copyright infringement.
According to Winstead, 50 Cent lifted the specific phrases “get the dope, cut this dope,” “let’s keep it popping” and “the strong takes from the weak, but the smart takes from everybody” from his novel. However, a three judge panel ruled that due to difference in specific wording and generality of the statements that the overlaps are purely coincidence.
“They are either common in general or common with respect to hip hop culture, and do not enjoy copyright protection,” the ruling reads. “The average person reading or listening to these phrases in the context of an overall story or song would not regard them as unique and protectable.”
The courts also ruled that the plots of both works aren’t similar enough to warrant a suit.
“Winstead’s book and Jackson’s works are different with respect to character, plot, mood, and sequence of events. Winstead’s protagonist embarks on a life of crime at a very young age, but is redeemed by the death of his beloved father,” it continues. “Jackson’s protagonist turns to crime when he is much older and only after his mother is murdered. He winds up dead at a young age, unredeemed. Winstead’s book is hopeful; Jackson’s film is characterized…by moral apathy.”