Cardi B is being sued for £4.4million by a tattoo fan after his inkings were used for album artwork that showed a man with his head between her legs.
Kevin Brophy says the US rapper infringed his copyright because his distinctive design – of a tiger fighting a snake – was edited onto the back of the male model without his consent.
He says when he saw the cover of her 2016 mixtape Gangsta B**** Music Vol 1, he felt that his body art had been turned from a ‘Michelangelo piece’ to something ‘raunchy and disgusting’.
‘It was something I took a lot of pride in,’ he added. ‘Now, that image feels devalued. I feel robbed.’
Mr Brophy alleged the cover artist had used a snap he found in an online search for back tattoos. He added he sent a cease and desist letter but got no reply.
But in court filings the rapper argued artist Timm Gooden used only a ‘small portion’ of the tattoo without her knowledge.
Her defence argued fair use, and said Mr Brophy and the cover image are unrelated – pointing out the mixtape model is black, while Mr Brophy is white, and the tattoos on his neck were not shown.
Her lawyer Peter Anderson added: ‘Brophy’s face wasn’t on the mixtape. It has nothing to do with Brophy.’
The win for Cardi B, whose real name is Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, follows a years-long legal battle over whether or not she was justified in using the tattoo on the cover of ‘Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1.’
On Tuesday, Judge Cormac J. Carney ordered that Kevin Michael Brophy, the man with the tiger tattoo that sued the Grammy-winning rapper for copyright infringement in 2017, pay the $350,000 plus 10% interest per year to Cardi B after the two agreed to relinquish the ability to file future motions on the case.
The agreement was first reported by trial lawyer Meghann Cuniff.