Crunk Kings Biopic Sparks Lawsuit
The 2006 documentary and soundtrack Crunk Kings are the source of an ongoing legal dispute over alleged copyright and monetary misappropriations.
The suit was filed last Thursday (March 5) in Atlanta court by Mark Skeete of Skgrilla Entertainment.
An industry veteran of over 20 years, Skeete was once a member of the Hip-Hop group No Face and has worked with Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur, Eazy-E, 2 Live Crew, Hype Williams, and Russell Simmons.
For Crunk Kings, Skeete served as director, narrator, and producer of the direct to video biopic that chronicled the professional and personal exploits of multi-Grammy winner Lil Jon.
According to the suit, Skeete details he was approached by comedian and television personality Bryon Allen and Deborah Mitchell to distribute both the film and soundtrack through the latters Studios Home Entertainment, Inc. and Entertainment Studios, Inc. companies.
However, Skeete claims the agreement fell apart because the parties were unable to agree on several key points, most noticeably Allens distribution fee and long form licensing agreement.
Despite this, Skeete alleges that the defendants unlawfully began distributing Crunk Kings globally and sublicensed the products to third parties such as Starz Media.
To complete this, the plaintiff (Skeete) states that Allen and Mitchell forged [his] name to a license agreement by taking the signature page from a different agreement and affixing it to a Long Form License Agreement.
Since his cease and desist demands were allegedly ignored, Mark Skeete is seeking damages on 11 counts.
The charges include several variations of copyright infringement, fraud, unjust enrichment, and violations of digital and trade practice laws.
While a specific settlement amount was not named in the lawsuit, most of the copyright violations range from $30,000 to $150,000 per infringement.
At press time, a trial date has not been verified by the courts.