LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — Earlier this week, a Federal judge dismissed a key claim in former N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller's lawsuit over Universal's Los Angeles rap scene biopic Straight Outta Compton.
As a key part of the lawsuit over the film he filed last fall, Heller claimed that the film appropriated both his name and likeness, and did not secure his consent to have a character with his name in the film.
However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald disagreed, finding that the use of the character and name in the film was a first amendment issue with public interest ramifications.
"The subject matter of the Film involves matters of public interest," Fitzgerald wrote in his decision. "The Film concerns a public controversy over Plaintiff’s tumultuous relationship with the 'hugely successful' N.W.A. Because there is little doubt that N.W.A. has had an immense influence on popular culture both domestically and internationally, the role Plaintiff played in N.W.A.’s rise to stardom is certainly a matter of public interest. The First Amendment, therefore, insulates Defendants of any liability for misappropriation of likeness." – Staff Writers