After a federal appeals court ruled in May that
Rosa Parks could appeal a lawsuit she filed against Outkast over their hit song
that uses her name in the title, a judge has reinstated most of the original
Parks’ initial lawsuit had been dismissed on
summary judgment in 1999. Parks will now attempt to prove her case against the
platinum plus selling rap group.
According to the more recent court ruling, the
"artists sought to play on the relationship between Ms. Parks and the phrase
"’move to the back of the bus.’
Parks’ high profile attorney, Johnny Cochran,
presented new evidence claiming that Parks had approved an album of gospel recordings
titled Verity Records Presents: A Tribute to Mrs. Rosa Parks and that
she received reports of consumers seeking
to purchase the tribute album, but instead accidentally bought Outkasts’ Aquemeni
album, due to the prominent promotion of the "Rosa Parks" song.
Cochran presented 21 affidavits from people who
said they had been "fooled into buying the rap album out of a belief that
it had something to do with Parks and the civil rights movement."
When the defendants claimed that the First Amendment
allowed them to name their song titles whatever they choose, the 6th Circuit
panel disagreed, stating the First Amendment cannot permit anyone who
cries artist to have carte blanche when it comes to naming and advertising
his or her works, art though it may be.
The judges said that using Rosa Parks’ name was
a "good marketing move" since "Rosa Parks was likely
to sell far more recordings than Back of the Bus.