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Cardi B reaches final settlement in artwork battle

By | Published on Wednesday 14 June 2023

Cardi B

The man who unsuccessfully sued Cardi B over her use of his distinctive back tattoo on the cover of a mixtape has reached a deal with the rapper over her legal costs in fighting the case. He has also withdrawn a motion that was seeking a new trial.

Kevin Brophy sued Cardi B – real name Belcalis Almánzar – in 2017. A photo of his distinctive tattoo was Photoshopped onto the cover of her 2016 mixtape, so that it appeared on the back of a man who was positioned to look like he was performing oral sex on the rapper.

He argued that the unauthorised use of the tattoo image meant people assumed it was him in the photo, and – given the explicit nature of the artwork – that had resulted in him facing frequent “uncomfortable comments, questions, and ridicule from community members and family”. Meanwhile, in legal terms, he reckoned Almánzar and his team had infringed his publicity rights.

However, last October a jury sided with Almánzar and concluded that she hadn’t, in fact, infringed any of Brophy’s rights. Subsequent to that decision, Almánzar began proceedings to try to get Brophy to cover the legal costs she incurred in defending herself in the case. Meanwhile, Brophy filed a motion seeking a second trial, arguing that prejudicial errors of law had occurred during the original court hearing.

But both sides told the court earlier this week that they have reached an agreement on Almánzar’s legal costs. And, as part of that agreement, Brophy has withdrawn his motion seeking a second trial.

According to Law360, legal papers submitted on Monday, and approved by the judge yesterday, stated: “Defendants shall recover from plaintiff attorney’s fees and costs in the total amount of $350,000, plus interest at the rate of 10% per annum from and after the entry of this order, plus reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in collecting the foregoing sums”.

And so that’s that. No more legal wrangling over tattoos and sneaky Photoshopping tactics and sexually explicit mixtape covers.