Ultimate Rap League is suing former URL talent scout Norbes for vicarious copyright infringement.
According to court documents obtained by AllHipHop, Ultimate Rap League accuses Dagoberto Velez a.k.a. Norbes of letting members of his private Facebook group bootleg rap battles. The company claims Norbes is “building brand awareness” for himself through the stolen streams, allowing him to make money off pirated content.
“Norbes profits directly from the infringing activity because the pirated videos draw traffic, revenue, and attention to Norbes, his website and his podcast (which just completed its 256th episode), allowing him to stay relevant in the rap battle world despite his ouster from URL,” the lawsuit contends.
Ultimate Rap League cut ties with Norbes in 2020. The company’s lawsuit cites his “unprofessional conduct,” including a physical altercation with a performer at an event.
Since the split, the company says Norbes has become vindictive. After his own lawsuit failed, he allegedly began engaging in underhanded tactics to hurt the battle rap league.
“Norbes has embarked on a series of extra-judicial actions designed to extract revenge against URL, including assisting a URL competitor in tortiously interfering with URL’s talent agreements,” the lawsuit explains. “More recently, Norbes has elected to harm URL by allowing the 8,300+ members to his private Facebook Group – entitled ‘Norbes it all’ (hereinafter, ‘Norbes It All Facebook Group’) – to: (a) market and sell pirated versions of URL’s ‘rap battle’ videos, as well as (b) watch URL’s rap battles, without paying URL’s monthly subscription fee.”
URL is asking for a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop Norbes’ alleged copyright infringement. It’s seeking his profits and damages, which would be determined at a trial.
As an alternative, the company has suggested maximum statutory damages of $150,000 for each copyrighted work that was infringed. It also wants Norbes to cover its court costs and attorney fees.