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Rapper victorious in copyright infringement suit

Author sued 50 Cent over the film “Before I Self Destruct”

A federal judge in New Jersey recently dismissed a copyright infringement case against rapper 50 Cent. Shadrach Winstead, an author and former gang member, filed suit against 50 Cent in November 2009 claiming the rapper stole elements of Winstead’s book, “The Preacher’s Son—But the Streets Turned Me into a Gangster,” and used them in his movie. 50 Cent denied the claims.

50 Cent’s film, “Before I Self Destruct,” had similarities to Winstead’s book, but the rapper’s lawyers argued those similarities were minor.

"With respect to the various specific phrases and lines, which Winstead alleged that our client took from the book, we demonstrated that many were misquoted, manipulated or not in the movie at all and that, in any event, they were noncopyrightable short phrases or unpredictable expressions used in the 'street,'” lawyers for Reed Smith, the law firm that represented 50 cent, told

On Sept. 22, the judge dismissed the suit, saying while the main characters in both stories grew up on the streets and lived a life of crime, there were few other similarities.


Cathleen Flahardy

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