Drake is possibly headed to trial after a company that sued him in the past for copyright infringement went ahead and used Drake's image and likeness without the rapper's permission, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
After Drake released "Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2," he and Cash Money Records were sued over the use of "Jimmy Smith Rap," but won three years later on fair-use grounds. The publishing/management company that was part of the suit, Hebrew Hustle and its founder Stephen Hacker, are now at the center of a countersuit. The company posted a photo of Drake on its official website along with a bio stating Hacker "played a heavy hand with his clients in the creation of hit songs for the likes of Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and others."
Drake insists none of Hacker's clients have ever worked with him on music, and is suing for false endorsement, violation of publicity rights and unfair competition since Hacker never had permission to use his name or image. According to the defendants, their use of Drake's name was not confusing or misleading, but U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III feels differently, saying it may appear to some site visitors that the rapper endorses the company. Ultimately, Pauley feels as though the decision is best left for a jury to decide.
While the judge agrees Drake has already established that the defendants used his image without permission, whether or not there were resulting monetary benefits should be up to the court. The defendants stated Drake previously implied he would only sue for damages amounting to the profits acquired as a result of using his name and likeness, but Pauley was again on the rapper's side. "In his counterclaims, Drake asserted that he 'suffered injury and actual damages in an amount to be proven at trial,'" he said.
Both Drake and Hacker filed motions for summary judgment on the suit's various claims, but Pauley denied both, noting Drake in particular had failed to prove his permanent residence was in California and not Toronto.