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Supreme Court Allows Rosa Parks to Sue Rap Duo
Yahoo News ^ | December 8, 2003 | James Vicini

Posted on 12/08/2003 10:54:46 AM PST by NYer

The justices let stand a U.S. appeals court ruling that reinstated Parks' false advertising and publicity claims against OutKast and three Bertelsmann AG (news - web sites) units -- LaFace Records, the record producer, and Arista Records and BMG Entertainment, the distributors.

Parks made history in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat to a white man and move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

Her arrest, which became a defining moment in the civil rights movement, led to a 381-day boycott of the bus system by blacks. It resulted in the end of segregation on public transportation and became a catalyst for organized boycotts, sit-ins and demonstrations across the South.

The song, "Rosa Parks," released as part of the 1998 album "Aquemini," was nominated for a Grammy award. The lyrics do not mention her by name, but the chorus says, "Ah, ha, hush that fuss. Everybody move to the back of the bus."

The album by rap recording artists Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton has sold more than two million copies and the song enjoyed long-lasting success on the Billboard charts.

Parks, a Detroit resident, sued in 1999, claiming use of her name without permission constituted false advertising and infringed on her right to publicity. She also claimed it defamed her character and interfered with a business relationship.

She had approved a collection of gospel recordings by various artists, released in 1995 and entitled "A Tribute to Mrs. Rosa Parks."

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in 1999, ruling constitutional free-speech rights under the First Amendment covered the use of Parks' name.

The appeals court upheld the dismissal of the claims of defamation and interference with a business relationship, but reinstated the rest of the lawsuit.

It said the defendants needed to show some artistic reason for calling the song "Rosa Parks." The appeals court sent the case back for more hearings to determine whether use of her name was symbolic, as the defendants argued, or disguised commercial advertisement.

Attorneys for OutKast and the other defendants appealed to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to hear the case. They said the appeals court unconstitutionally allowed public figures to use trademark and right-of-publicity laws to censor speech.

But the high court rejected the appeal without comment.


TOPICS: Breaking News; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 1stammendment; billoreilly; copyright; copyrights; entertainment; fairuse; firstammendment; foxnews; freespeech; historicalfigure; lawsuit; loserpays; music; musicindustry; outkast; publicfigure; rosaparks; showmethemoney; singerskantspel; supremecourt; trademarks
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1 posted on 12/08/2003 10:54:46 AM PST by NYer
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To: NYer
Can't think of a much dumber lawsuit off the top of my head.
2 posted on 12/08/2003 10:57:07 AM PST by dead (I used to believe in a lot of things. All of it! Now I believe only in dynamite.)
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To: NYer
You beat me to posting this. Good, isn't anything sacred any more.
3 posted on 12/08/2003 10:57:27 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: NYer
That's a shame. :)
4 posted on 12/08/2003 10:57:37 AM PST by samtheman
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To: dead
Rosa Parks
[Hook]
Ah ha, hush that fuss
Everybody move to the back of the bus
Do you wanna bump and slump with us
We the type of people make the club get crunk

[Verse 1:(Big Boi)]
Many a day has passed, the night has gone by
But still I find the time to put that bump off in your eye
Total chaos, for these playas, thought we was absent
We takin another route to represent the Dungeon Family
Like Great Day, me and my nigga decide to take the back way
We stabbing every city then we headed to that bat cave
A-T-L, Georgia, what we do for ya
Bull doggin hoes like them Georgetown Hoyas
Boy you sounding silly, thank my Brougham aint sittin pretty
Doing doughnuts round you suckas like then circles around titties
Damn we the committee gone burn it down
But us gone bust you in the mouth with the chorus now

[Hook]

I met a gypsy and she hipped me to some life game
To stimulate then activate the left and right brain
Said baby boy you only funky as your last cut
You focus on the past your ass'll be a has what
Thats one to live by or either that one to die to
I try to just throw it at you determine your own adventure
Andre, got to her station here's my destination
She got off the bus, the conversation lingered in my head for hours
Took a shower kinda sour cause my favorite group ain't comin with it
But I'm witcha you cause you probably goin through it anyway
But anyhow when in doubt went on out and bought it
Cause I thought it would be jammin but examine all the flawsky-wawsky
Awfully, it's sad and it's costly, but that's all she wrote
And I hope I never have to float in that boat
Up shit creek it's weak is the last quote
That I want to hear when I'm goin down when all's said and done
And we got a new joe in town
When the record player get to skippin and slowin down
All yawl can say is them niggas earned that crown but until then...

[Hook]
[Harmonica Solo]
[Hook til fade]




5 posted on 12/08/2003 10:58:13 AM PST by cyborg (far right extremist american...........)
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To: NYer
But she wont sue Ice Cube and Cedric 'The Entertainer' for saying she was just a secretary for NAACP who wouldnt move?

That scene in "Barbershop" was hillarious.
6 posted on 12/08/2003 10:58:42 AM PST by smith288 (Did you even look at yourself in the mirror when you left the house??? Ugh)
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To: TexKat
She's ABSOLUTELY right to sue. Read the lyrics and you'll see why she probably got insulted, not only calling women ho's but saying the word nigger. You think Rosa Parks wasn't called that a time or two when boarding that bus?
7 posted on 12/08/2003 10:59:32 AM PST by cyborg (far right extremist american...........)
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To: dead
It said the defendants needed to show some artistic reason for calling the song "Rosa Parks."

I think the defendants should be required to present a reason, any reason, they should be called "artists".

8 posted on 12/08/2003 11:00:15 AM PST by gov_bean_ counter
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To: NYer
Yet another example of the "old guard" of the civil rights era being passed by as the new guard--which is not as tied to dogma--brings in the dollars. Jesse Jackson suing "Barbershop" is one example, and this lame lawsuit by Rosa Parks is another. If Rosa thinks she can win a p.r. war against OutKast, she's dreaming.

Memo to Ms. Parks--when you are an historical figure, you lose the right to have every say over how your name is used.
9 posted on 12/08/2003 11:00:46 AM PST by diamondjoe
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To: rdb3; Khepera; elwoodp; MAKnight; condolinda; mafree; Trueblackman; FRlurker; Teacher317; ...
Just damn.

Black conservative ping

If you want on (or off) of my black conservative ping list, please let me know via FREEPmail. (And no, you don't have to be black to be on the list!)

Extra warning: this is a high-volume ping list.

10 posted on 12/08/2003 11:01:03 AM PST by mhking
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To: cyborg
She's ABSOLUTELY right to sue. Read the lyrics and you'll see why she probably got insulted, not only calling women ho's but saying the word nigger. You think Rosa Parks wasn't called that a time or two when boarding that bus?

Of course, everyone has a right to sue. But is her lawsuit worthy? If the song has no artistic reason to be called Rosa Parks then its legit, but you cant sue someone for calling women "ho's" and black people "niggas". Thats just 1st ammendment stuff.

And Rosa cant sue for being offended. There is no right NOT to be offended. I hate rap but ill defend their right to be complete idiots just like Ill defend Barbra, Rob Reiner and Alec Baldwin to be complete moronic idiots. The moment they try to get legislation to silence me is when ill arm up against them.

11 posted on 12/08/2003 11:04:16 AM PST by smith288 (Did you even look at yourself in the mirror when you left the house??? Ugh)
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To: cyborg
Aren't those some beautiful and meaningful lyrics?! < /sarcasm>

SHEEEESH...MUD

12 posted on 12/08/2003 11:04:32 AM PST by Mudboy Slim (RE-IMPEACH Osama bil Clinton!!)
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To: NYer
I've listened to that song. Maybe she wants to make money off it?
13 posted on 12/08/2003 11:04:46 AM PST by yonif ("If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem, Let My Right Hand Wither" - Psalms 137:5)
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To: cyborg
It's a crappy song (judging from the lyrics) but she's a public figure, and I can't see anything in the lyrics that insults her (unless she's a Georgetown Hoya ho!)

She might think it is in poor taste (and it is) but it is not actionable in a court of law. It is very very difficult to sue for defamation in this country. She has to prove that they wrote something about her that is knowingly false and was written with the intent to injure her. There's none of that here.

She's only helping them sell more records with the free publicity.

14 posted on 12/08/2003 11:06:53 AM PST by dead (I used to believe in a lot of things. All of it! Now I believe only in dynamite.)
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To: smith288
You're right about the 1st amendment stuff. I think she's just suing so her name isn't associated with the lyrics. Besides I don't see what the song has to do with her. I'm just amazed at the level of disrespect.
15 posted on 12/08/2003 11:07:09 AM PST by cyborg (far right extremist american...........)
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To: NYer
As sincerely as I admire Mrs. Parks, I have to side with the rappers on this one. The First Amendment cuts both ways; may its edges stay forever sharp.
16 posted on 12/08/2003 11:07:43 AM PST by Physicist
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To: dead
Yeah you're right too. I was just amazed that they'd associate her name with that song. Oh well.
17 posted on 12/08/2003 11:08:41 AM PST by cyborg (far right extremist american...........)
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To: cyborg
It's trash, no doubt. She should just ignore it.
18 posted on 12/08/2003 11:09:48 AM PST by dead (I used to believe in a lot of things. All of it! Now I believe only in dynamite.)
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To: cyborg
While I am a black woman and in my younger days( a while ago-bus fare was 35 cents then) I was asked more than once to move to the back of the bus by other passengers. Sometimes other passengers would put their personal belongings in the unoccupied seat in order to prevent me from sitting next to them. But none of that worked with me and I am not related to Rosa Parks I don't think.
19 posted on 12/08/2003 11:09:59 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: yonif
I hope not. Unfortunately you never kmow when coming to money :-(
20 posted on 12/08/2003 11:10:23 AM PST by cyborg (far right extremist american...........)
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To: NYer
Good for her. By and large the rappers are scummy and their "music" is crap.
21 posted on 12/08/2003 11:11:38 AM PST by veronica (I just realised I have a perfect part for you in Terminator 2....)
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To: cyborg
Its called "Plantation Politics", and its working...

These people are on the plantation by their slave masters, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, NAACP, the Democratic party and other liberal organizations that continue to focus on money, hand outs, constant meaningless apologies from the majority and to keep the hatred brewing. Those who become wealthy by this process, usually have no grasp on history, family, decency nor respect.

This is the kind of stuff the left loves because it shows that this block of people will continue to vote for them as they become less and less educated in the pivotal lessons of life.
22 posted on 12/08/2003 11:12:42 AM PST by smith288 (Did you even look at yourself in the mirror when you left the house??? Ugh)
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To: cyborg
Public figure - she has no case. You can say whatever you want about a public figure in the US and that person has no recourse.
23 posted on 12/08/2003 11:12:42 AM PST by thoughtomator (The U.N. is a terrorist organization)
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To: smith288
"That scene in "Barbershop" was hillarious."

Yep. That was a funny movie anyway.

24 posted on 12/08/2003 11:13:11 AM PST by sweetliberty (Better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.)
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To: NYer
But the high court rejected the appeal without comment.

Where's the surprise, isn't that the usual left end tripple handoff run performed by this "candy assed" U.S. "soopreem" court?

This way no face can be put to a "super liayer" on the court and another silver bullet is skillfully dodged by the Wimpy Time Kids!

25 posted on 12/08/2003 11:13:16 AM PST by VOYAGER
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To: TexKat
There was a controversey about another woman doing the same thing but not getting as much credit. It had to do with NAACP political power drama behind the scenes. I just didn't get the logic of Outkast asssociating her name with a song calling someone a nigger. If they were called a nigger by a white person, they'd be insulted and we'd never hear the end of it.
26 posted on 12/08/2003 11:13:44 AM PST by cyborg (far right extremist american...........)
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To: smith288
This election season is going to UGLY.
27 posted on 12/08/2003 11:15:07 AM PST by cyborg (far right extremist american...........)
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To: yonif
"Maybe she wants to make money off it?"

Bingo!

28 posted on 12/08/2003 11:15:51 AM PST by sweetliberty (Better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.)
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To: TexKat
While I am a black woman and in my younger days( a while ago-bus fare was 35 cents then) I was asked more than once to move to the back of the bus by other passengers. Sometimes other passengers would put their personal belongings in the unoccupied seat in order to prevent me from sitting next to them. But none of that worked with me and I am not related to Rosa Parks I don't think.

Whipping out a pistol and telling the startled passenger to ease those belongings back into his lap often worked for me.

29 posted on 12/08/2003 11:15:57 AM PST by Lazamataz (PROUDLY POSTING WITHOUT READING THE ARTICLE SINCE 1999!)
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To: cyborg
How is this case different from the 1980s Hustler v. Falwell, when the Supreme Court gave a blank check to Larry Flynt to libel the Reverend Falwell? At the time the liberal court said that because the Reverend Falwell was a "public figure" and because Flynt was using "satire" and "pardoy," there was no libel. So why is Mrs. Parks given priority over the Reverend Falwell?
30 posted on 12/08/2003 11:16:29 AM PST by Theodore R.
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To: NYer; mhking
hahahahahahahaha
31 posted on 12/08/2003 11:17:42 AM PST by King Prout (...he took a face from the ancient gallery, then he... walked on down the hall....)
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To: NYer
Isn't OutKast the group that Wesley Clark keeps namedropping?

Clark is running with a crowd that is being sued by Roas Parks. HAHAHAHAHAHAH.
32 posted on 12/08/2003 11:18:04 AM PST by Republican Red (Karmic hugs welcomed!)
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To: NYer; biblewonk
Parks ... sued in 1999, claiming use of her name without permission ... infringed on her right to publicity.

The often-cited "right to privacy" is ridiculous enough. But, a "right to publicity"? BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-...

33 posted on 12/08/2003 11:19:20 AM PST by newgeezer (Just my opinion, of course. Your mileage may vary. You have the right to be wrong.)
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To: cyborg
This is enough for me to say boy don't you ever utter my name and go put some clotes on. And take that ho bitch shite and get the hell up on out of here.


34 posted on 12/08/2003 11:20:48 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: cyborg
A bigger issue than Ms Parks is the fact that this trash was nominated for a Grammy. YGTBSM!
35 posted on 12/08/2003 11:23:18 AM PST by pgyanke ("If you don't behave as you believe, you will end by believing as you behave." Ar-Bshp Fulton Sheen)
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To: cyborg
There was a controversey about another woman doing the same thing but not getting as much credit.

I've heard that story as well. I seem to remember that it was a young black woman - perhaps a teenager? The NAACP wanted someone connected with them to be doing it so they sent Rosa out to duplicate the girl's action.

Wonder where you can get the real facts?

36 posted on 12/08/2003 11:24:11 AM PST by jackbill
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To: Lazamataz
Whipping out a pistol and telling the startled passenger to ease those belongings back into his lap often worked for me.

ROFL. I can get that evil eye look. And its like if you want this shite you better move it.

37 posted on 12/08/2003 11:24:13 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: Republican Red
Isn't OutKast the group that Wesley Clark keeps namedropping? Clark is running with a crowd that is being sued by Roas Parks. HAHAHAHAHAHAH.

Why, yes indeedy!

Atlanta rap group OutKast has an unlikely fan in Wesley Clark, the silver-haired former general running for president.

Clark touted his support of the Grammy-award winning group during the "Rock the Vote" debate this week on CNN. Clark spokeswoman Kym Spell said Clark listens to their CDs on his campaign plane flights.

38 posted on 12/08/2003 11:25:16 AM PST by dead (I used to believe in a lot of things. All of it! Now I believe only in dynamite.)
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To: NYer
(I post this as an FYI, not trying to sway opinion one way or another... BUT, I think her lawsuit is nonsense).

FYI, the album that this song appeared on won a bunch of critical music awards.

Also, OutKast is slated to win a bunch more for their latest album they released this year.

Here's the lyrics from "Bombs over Baghdad" from the same Stankonia album... which I've yet to figure out.

[Dre]
1, 2.. 1, 2, 3; yeah!
In-slum-national, underground
Thunder pounds when I stomp the ground (Woo!)
Like a million elephants with silverback orangutans
You can't stop a train
Who want some? Don't come un-pre-pared
I'll be there, but when I leave there
Better be a household name
Weather man tellin' us it ain't gon' rain
So now we sittin' in a drop-top, soakin wet
In a silk suit, tryin' not to sweat
Hits somersaults without the net
But this'll be the year that we won't forget
One-Nine-Nine-Nine, Ano Domini, anything goes, be whatchu wanna be
Long as you know consequences are given for livin - the fence is
too high to jump in jail
Too low to dig, I might just touch hell - HOT!
Get a life, now they gon' sell
Then I might catch you a spell, look at what came in the mail
A scale and some Arm and Hammer, so grow grid and some baby máma
Black Cadillac and a pack of pampers
Stack of question with no answers
Cure for cancer, cure for AIDS
Make a nigga wanna stay on tour for days
Get back home, things are wrong
Well not really, it was bad all along
before you left adds up to a ball of power
Thoughts at a thousands miles per hour
Hello, ghetto, let your brain breathe
Believe there's always mo', OWWWW!

Chorus: 2X
[Dre] Don't pull the thang out, unless you plan to bang
{Choir} Bombs over Baghdad!
[Dre] Yeah! Ha ha yeah!
Don't even bang unless you plan to hit something
{Choir} Bombs over Baghdad!
{Dre} Yeah! Uhh-huh

[Big Boi]
Uno, dos, tres, it's on
Did you ever think a pimp rock a microphone?
Like that there boi and will still stay street
Big things happen every time we meet
Like a track team, crack fiend, dyin to geek
Outkast bumpin' up and down the street
Slam back, Cadillac, 'bout five nigga deep
Seventy-five emcee's freestylin' to the beat
Cause we get krunk, stay drunk, at the club
Should have bought an ounce, but you caught the dub
Should have held back, but you throwed the punch
'Spose to meet your girl but you packed a lunch
No D to-the U to-the G for you
Got a son on the way by the name of Bamboo
Got a little baby girl four year, Jordan
Never turn my back on my kids for them
Should have hit it (hit it) quit it (quit it) rag (rag) top (top)
Before you read up, get a laptop
Make a business for yourself, boy, set some goals
Make a fair diamond out of dusty coals
Record number four, but we on a roll
Hold up, slow up, stop, +Control+
like Janet, planets, Stankonia's on ya
Movin like Floyd comin' straight to Florida
Lock all your windows then block the quarters
Pullin' off on bell 'cause a whippins in order
Like a three piece fist, 'fore I cut your daughter
Yo quiero Taco Bell, then I hit the border
Penny pap rappers tryin' to get the five
I'm a microphone fiend tryin' to stay alive
When you come to ATL boi you better not hide
cause the Dungeon Family gon' ride, hah!

Chorus: 2X
[Dre] Don't pull the thang out, unless you plan to bang
{Choir} Bombs over Baghdad!
[Dre] Yeah! Ha ha yeah!
Don't even bang unless you plan to hit something
{Choir} Bombs over Baghdad!
{Dre} Yeah! Uhh-huh

{Choir}
Bombs over Baghdad! Yeah
Bombs over Baghdad! Yeah
Bombs over Baghdad! Yeah
Bombs over Baghdad! Yeah

[Dre]
B-I-G, B-O-I
An-An-Andre
To the T-O-P

[Dre and Big Boi]: 15X
Bob your head. Rag top.

(1, 2.. 1, 2, 3, 4) (Gimme some)

{Choir}: 23X
Po-wer music, electric revival
39 posted on 12/08/2003 11:26:55 AM PST by whattajoke (Neutiquam erro.)
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To: TexKat
ROFL. I can get that evil eye look.

Oh no! "The Look"!!!

I have learned to fear "The Look".

Bad things usually happen after I see any woman who has "The Look". Not even a pistol will save a man from "The Look".

=:^o

40 posted on 12/08/2003 11:27:23 AM PST by Lazamataz (PROUDLY POSTING WITHOUT READING THE ARTICLE SINCE 1999!)
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To: TexKat


From our new album, "As Metrosexual As You Wanna Be"
With the new hits
"It Not Gay To Be Wearin' Yo Mama's Furs"
and
"Pink Pistols Ain't Queer As Hell"

41 posted on 12/08/2003 11:31:05 AM PST by Lazamataz (PROUDLY POSTING WITHOUT READING THE ARTICLE SINCE 1999!)
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To: jackbill
Now why did I have a feeling that LAWYERS are somewhere in this story???

Controversy #2: Rosa Parks, the song's namesake and, if you don't remember, civil rights pioneer, was advised to sue Outkast for using her name without permission. I wonder myself if Ms. Parks has ever heard the song; she said she was offended by the use of words such as "hoes" and "niggas," but her lawyers may have just filtered those out for her. For those who haven't heard the song (and this might include Ms. Parks), the name "Rosa Parks" is never uttered in the song itself. One has to wonder how many people who *didn't* know who Ms. Parks was before the song, now know thanks to Outkast's attempt to educate. With this lawsuit, her lawyers seem to be saying "thanks for nothing." It's a shame since Outkast, and "Rosa Parks," are probably closer in spirit to the movement than any of the people representing Ms. Parks.

As for the original situation, I went a few pages deep in google and didn't find anything. I remember this being discussed on FR though so maybe it's in here somewhere.
42 posted on 12/08/2003 11:32:10 AM PST by cyborg (far right extremist american...........)
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To: Lazamataz
Oh dear... all my mom had to do was give me 'the look'. That would shut me up istantly.
43 posted on 12/08/2003 11:33:42 AM PST by cyborg (far right extremist american...........)
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To: cyborg
Oh dear... all my mom had to do was give me 'the look'. That would shut me up istantly.

It worked for my children also.

44 posted on 12/08/2003 11:35:54 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: pgyanke
Yeah. They're good in their genre BUT they have no class. Just like Eminem is good, but he has none either. Oh well, I suppose lack of judgment is no barrier to success.
45 posted on 12/08/2003 11:39:00 AM PST by cyborg (far right extremist american...........)
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To: TexKat
Come on. Admit it. My "As Metrosexual As You Wanna Be" album riff made you laugh.
46 posted on 12/08/2003 11:45:09 AM PST by Lazamataz (PROUDLY POSTING WITHOUT READING THE ARTICLE SINCE 1999!)
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To: Lazamataz
Howard Dean's theme song
47 posted on 12/08/2003 11:46:41 AM PST by cyborg (far right extremist american...........)
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To: whattajoke; Lazamataz; cyborg
You think the President will be bringing a lawsuit against or are there other ways to deal with this one.
48 posted on 12/08/2003 11:52:36 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: Lazamataz
You always make me laugh.
49 posted on 12/08/2003 11:53:40 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: NYer
Sounds like she didn't use Bill O'Reilly's legal team (good call).

She's a public figure whether she wants to acknowledge it. Disney never paid Daniel Boone's heirs and think of all those hats that they sold in the 1950s.

50 posted on 12/08/2003 11:54:18 AM PST by weegee (No blood for ratings! This means YOU AOL-Time-Warner-Turner-CNN)
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