Detroit Residents Settle "Up In Smoke" Lawsuit

Five Detroit residents have reached a settlement against several retailing giants, after alleging their conversations and images were illegally used in the "Up In Smoke" DVD, which was released in 2000.Detroit police prevented an explicit video from being shown during an October 2000 performance at the Joe Louis Arena.The people suing Dre claim their backstage conversations about the situation were taped and included as bonus footage without permission."There was a discussion behind the scenes concerning whether the DVD would come out," David Tillman of Tillman & Tillman said. "All of the discussions were backstage and it was all before the concert commenced and without permission."Harmony House, BeMusic and Hastings Entertainment reached agreements with Gregory Bowens, the former press secretary for Mayor Dennis Archer, Recreation Department official Robert Dunlap, Phil Talbert Paula Bridges and Gary Brown.The group was originally seeking damages totaling $3 billion.This settlement does not release Dr. Dre from further litigation. All individuals have filed state and federal lawsuits against the super producer for "acquiring and commercial exploitation of the victims private conversations and their likenesses.""Nobody deserves to have their private conversations illegally videotaped and sold around the world for the commercial benefit of one individual or company without their permission," said intellectual property and civil litigation attorney Glen Douglas Oliver. "Secretly videotape a private conversation with gangster rapper Dr. Dre, one of the defendants in this case and put it in a gangster rap music video without his permission and see how quickly he sues you. Just because people aren't rich, powerful and internationally famous, doesn't mean they should be exploited by those that are."Dre won a lawsuit related to the "Up In Smoke" DVD in April of 2002.It was ruled that city officials infringed on his free speech rights.Dre was awarded $25,000, apologies from the city of Detroit and the Detroit police had to undergo First Amendment training.