A federal appeals court reopened a lawsuit filed
by Rosa Parks against Outkast today, over their hit song that uses her name
in the title.
Parks’ initial lawsuit had been dismissed in
1999. Parks claimed that the group was using her name for profit and not compensating
Parks was also offended at the racial slurs used
in the song, as she is one of the civil rights movement’s most recognized faces.
A federal judge ruled that Outkast’s use of her
name was protected by the first amendment and that they did not need to compensate
Parks’ hired super lawyer Johnnie Cochran to
help with her appeal and it appears that move helped her case.
"Rosa Parks is an icon in this country.
She’s the mother of the civil rights movement," Johnnie Cochran argued
before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "Because she stood up, we
can all stand up."
A three judge panel from the 6th US Circuit Court
of Appeals found that while Outkast’s free speech defense is valid, Parks’ claim
that using her first and last name in the title of the song could suggest that
she is somehow affiliated with the group.
The judge’s said that Outkast now needs to prove
that they have a valid artistic reason to show why they named the song ‘Rosa
"The fact that Defendants cry ‘artist’ and
‘symbol’ as reasons for appropriating Rosa Parks’ name for a song title does
not absolve them from potential liability for, in the words of Shakespeare,
filching Rosa Parks’ good name," the ruling said.