Music News

Copyright Infringement Not One of Jay Z’s Problems

Jay Z and his Roc-A-Fella record label successfully dismissed a $7 million copyright infringement lawsuit.

Reuters explains that the logo, created by Dwayne Walker, was free and clear for Jay Z to use and that Walker was not owed any royalties from a contract signed nearly 20 years ago between artist and the label’s co-founder, Damon Dash.

In the lawsuit, originally filed in July 2012, Walker said the artwork he designed in 1995 was used for the Roc-A-Fella logo but never received royalties. Jay Z, Dash and representatives from Universal Music Group argued instead that the logo was created by an art director working for the label.

US District Judge Andrew Carter, in Manhattan, dismissed the case on Monday, ruling that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to back up Walker’s claims and questioned whether the contract ever actually existed. Only two people, excluding Walker, testified to have seen the contract.

“This leaves only plaintiff’s own self-serving testimony that he drafted the contract, that he and Dash signed it, and that he lost track of it in 1998,” Carter wrote in his 32-page decision. “This testimony alone is not enough.”

Judge Carter also suggested Walker waited too long to file a copyright lawsuit.

Walker’s attorney, Gregory Berry, has vowed to appeal.

“Walker made the logo in 1995. Then in 2013, in response to this suit—never before—the defendants find a guy who is willing to claim now that HE made the logo…Sound like a factual question for trial? We agree,” Berry said.

Read more about the case here and here.


Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

Amber Healy has 521 posts and counting. See all posts by Amber Healy

One thought on “Copyright Infringement Not One of Jay Z’s Problems

  • You should also mention that the logo is terrible, no real graphic designer would ever associate themselves with work like that.


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