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Dorsey v. Black Pearl Books, Inc. (D.N.J.)

Case Conclusion Date: 11.14.2006

Practice Area: Intellectual property

Outcome: Right of publicity - recall and statutory damages

Description: From New Jersey Justice: The unfortunately titled new novel, Legit Baller, written for the unfortunate genre of "street life," is the product of Black Pearl Books, a publisher of such high-minded fare as Snitch: No Rest, No Sleep and Hu$tlin' Backwards. Legit Baller is the tender tale of a crack dealer and the two women who wait for him while he serves time in prison. Problem is, when the publisher needed a picture for the cover, they simply used a photo of a well-respected R & B singer named Marc Dorsey. Dorsey claims he lost an endorsement deal after the book bearing his photo was published. US District Judge Joseph Greenaway agreed with Dorsey, and this week ordered Black Pearl to stop using the photo and to recall distributed copies. At an inquest, the Court awarded total damages in the amount of $500,000 ($250,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages) plus attorneys' fees.

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