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Rapper and hip-hop mogul 50 Cent has made a run for the court order.
The Get Rich or Die Tryin’ rapper sued Taco Bell Corporation last Wednesday, saying the restaurant chain made him the star of its hip-hop themed ad campaign without his permission and without paying him a fee.
50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, accused the Mexican-style fast food chain of “diluting the value of his good name” and employing a guerrilla advertising campaign to fool consumers into thinking he had endorsed the chain, according to the lawsuit that he filed in Manhattan federal court.
“Without seeking or obtaining Jackson’s authorization, defendant Taco Bell made him the star and focus of its nationwide advertising campaign by using his name, persona and trademark to promote Taco Bell’s business and products,” court pleadings reported.
The rapper claims that the Mexican-themed chain features him in a print ad asking him to change his name to 79 Cent, 89 Cent or 99 Cent. The rapper’s court pleadings state that the ad is part of Taco Bell’s “Why Pay More?” campaign, which promotes items for under a dollar, including Cinnamon Twists for 79 cents, Crunchy Tacos for 89 cents and Bean Burritos for 99 cents. The papers say that Taco Bell sent a bogus letter requesting the name change to the news media but not to the rapper.
The rapper’s lawyer, Peter D. Raymond, said his client didn’t learn about the letter or that he was featured in the ad campaign until he saw a news report about it. Raymond said his client is seeking $4 million in damages.
This isn’t the first time 50 Cent has sued over his name or image. In July 2007, he filed a $1 million lawsuit accusing an Internet ad company of using his image without permission in a game called Shoot the Rapper, in which the player pretends to shoot him. The game shows 50 Cent walking in an ad across the top of a Web page while the viewer is encouraged to shoot him by aiming and clicking with the mouse. A successful shot results in a misty cloud of red, and then the viewer is directed to another Web page, where the ad firm’s clients sell goods and services.
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