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Update: Judge Upholds Cardi B’s Back Tattoo Album Cover Lawsuit

A California judge upholds Cardi B‘s back tattoo album cover lawsuit over her 2016 mixtape “Gangsta B—- Music Vol. 1.” The cover art features a man appearing to give her oral sex while she drank a Corona beer in the backseat of a limousine. Rolling Stone reports that model Kevin Brophy sued the “Bodak Yellow” rapper for $5 million for editing his back tattoo of a tiger and serpent on the cover art. He argued that his likeness was misappropriated and used without his permission.

Cardi B wins the appeal over a case regarding the cover art of her 2016 mixtape “Gangsta B—- Music Vol. 1. (Photo: @iamcardib/Instagram.)

Cardi B’s Back Tattoo Album Cover Lawsuit Update

The Bronx-born artist won the lawsuit in the Oct. 21 verdict, which Brophy appealed, according to the outlet. On Wednesday, Dec. 28, U.S. district judge Cormac J. Carney ruled that the original verdict will not be overturned and rejected Brophy’s request for failing to file before the case was submitted for deliberations, known as the Rule 50 motion.

Carney wrote in his ruling, “The untimeliness of Brophy’s Rule 50 is reason enough to deny it. But the motion also wants for substantive merit.” He said Santa Ana jurors reviewed “competing evidence,” including “reasons abound to sustain the jury’s verdict of not liable on all claims.”

According to the judge, Cardi’s former manager and Brophy previously testified that the model on the cover “appears non-white with black hair while Brophy is white and has a shaved head” in trial. At the time, she said she was unaware the artist who created the cover had edited Brophy’s tattoo through Photoshop on the cover without her permission.

Carney continued, “The jury had an ample basis for its verdict. For example, the jury could have reasonably concluded that the back tattoo on the model on the mixtape cover at issue in this suit was not sufficiently identifiable with Brophy to constitute misappropriation of his likeness or depiction in a false light. Because the model’s face is not visible, identification based on facial appearance is impossible.”

Jurors ruled that Brophy’s tattoo played a “minor” role in the overall theme of the “Gangsta B—- Music Vol. 1” cover art.

“The purpose, Cardi B testified, was to show her in control, reversing traditional gender roles,” wrote Carney. “It is hard to see how the cover’s economic value derived at all from Brophy’s tattoo. Despite any contrary evidence that Brophy presented, the jury was within reason to find that the use of the tattoo was transformative.”

Additionally, Brophy was ordered to pay the Grammy winner’s legal fees and attorney costs.

Following the news, Cardi shared promo shots for 2016’s “Gangsta B—- Music Vol. 1.” on Twitter. “My first mixtape promo photos ….I had a dream,” wrote the 30-year-old.

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