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Jay Z ends fight with Aussie business

3 weeks ago 17

Grammy-award winning rapper Jay-Z may have 99 problems but a children’s book ain’t one after he settled a lawsuit against an Australian small publisher.

Hip-hop’s first billionaire launched the copyright action over the book “AB to Jay-Z” created by Australian small business The Little Homie Pty Ltd in 2019.

It can be revealed the case settled after a confidential mediation.

“The Little Homie Pty Ltd has agreed not to use Jay-Z’s name and lyrics in its publications going forward, and the publications that are the subject of the litigation will be renamed,” New York based lawyer Jordan W Siev told NCA NewsWire in a statement.

The original book featured images of Jay-Z and borrowed from his lyrics.

“If you‘re having alphabet problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but my ABCs ain’t one”, a quote on back cover read.

This is a reference to his song 99 Problems which features the opening: “If you‘re having girl problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems and a b**** ain’t one”.

The book was a “deliberate and knowing attempt to trade off the reputation and good will” of the award-winning rapper, according to court documents filed in the Federal Court late last year.

The business, at the time run by Australian woman Jessica Chiha, used Jay-Z’s intellectual property for their “own commercial gain”, the suit said.

Ms Chiha who lists the company’s principal place of business as being in the Sydney suburb of Dee Why, did not respond to requests for comment following the settlement.

On the US website for the company there is a statement about the controversial book. It is no longer available for purchase.

“Firstly, we would like to sincerely apologise for the offence caused by the content relating to this project. Our intentions were never to hurt anyone that is the last thing we wanted. This project came from a good place and it is unfortunate that we have tarnished it with our ignorance,” it reads.

“What we are hoping for in the future, is that this project and experience can be turned into something positive by making it a platform for educating ourselves and others and not spreading hate.”

It is understood the book came to the attention of Jay-Z after controversy broke over accusations of cultural appropriation and racism in 2017 when a customer asked if the company was black-owned.

The Australian website of The Little Homie published a statement about the controversial book in relation to another one of it’s products.

“The release of our first book, A B to Jay-Z, was quickly followed by the realisation that we had made some significant mistakes in our past. Our book, as are all the things created by the Little Homie, was inspired by our love for the music and the culture that it grew from. What we learned is that it is possible to love the product of culture and still hold some damaging beliefs and behaviours, at the same time,” it reads on its website.

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