Rapper Rick Ross was allowed to keep his alias after successfully defeating former drug lord, Freeway Rick Ross in a California appeals court. Freeway filed a lawsuit in 2010 claiming infringement on his namesake. According to Judge Roger Boren however, Rozay was protected under the first amendment.
“We recognize that Roberts’ work — his music and persona as a rap musician — relies to some extent on plaintiff’s name and persona. Roberts chose to use the name ‘Rick Ross.’ He raps about trafficking in cocaine and brags about his wealth.
These were ‘raw materials’ from which Roberts’ music career was synthesized. But these are not the ‘very sum and substance’ of Roberts’ work.” “Roberts created a celebrity identity, using the name Rick Ross, of a cocaine kingpin turned rapper. He was not simply an impostor seeking to profit solely off the name and reputation of Rick Ross. Rather, he made music out of fictional tales of dealing drugs and other exploits—some of which related to plaintiff. Using the name and certain details of an infamous criminal’s life as basic elements, he created original artistic work