Fans have been spotting Notorious B.I.G. in new snowboarding ads all over Instagram, but according to the late rapper’s estate, he’s not supposed to be there.
In court documents obtained by The Blast, Biggie’s mother Voletta Wallace and widow Faith Evans are suing the Swiss-based Yes. Snowboard for unlawfully using Biggie’s image on their products and ads.
According to the papers, Yes. Snowboards partnered with Chi Modu (a well-known hip-hop photographer) to create a line of snowboards called “Greats x Chi”. In the new series, Modu’s photographs of Biggie are featured in decals and stickers for their snowboarding products.
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But as the estate claims, Yes. Snowboards or Chi Modu failed to go through proper legal licensing and because of that, they are not being paid any of the profits/royalties.
They also allege to already have a deal with a different snowboarding company, and these images could ruin their existing contract.
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“At a time where fame and popularity for musicians comes and goes on an accelerated time scale, it is hard to quantify the power—both emotional and financial—of a musician whose brand and persona are still appreciated, recognized, and replicated more than two decades after his death,” the lawsuit states.
The estate is looking to get an injunction against the company as well as gaining the profits made from the boards, along with unspecified damages.
The “Greats x Chi” collection also includes images of Tupac Shakur, Old Dirty Bastard, and Eazy-E.