Thursday, September 18, 2014

Iggy Azalea is suing ex-boyfriend over release of early music, forged contract

BEN KAYE/Consequence of Sound

Photo by Philip Cosores
Though “Fancy” has led Iggy Azalea to new heights of fame, it’s also brought some undesirable old acquaintances out of the woodwork. In particular, Iggy’s ex-boyfriend Maurice Williams (known under the rap pseudonym Hefe Wine) has been causing the Australian star a heap of trouble, releasing pre-fame recordings and starting rumors of a sex tape. Now, Iggy is fighting back with a lawsuit accusing Williams of violating her copyright, trademark, name and likeness (via Billboard).

Word first came of these old recordings back in July when William’s Wine Enterprises, Inc.announced a joint venture with Primco, ESMG, and Top Sail. The group said they had “secured the rights” to old songs by Iggy (including”It Ain’t Tricking”, “U Ain’t My Daddy”, “Take My Picture”, “Red Bottoms”, “Supernova” and “Miss International”) that would be compiled on an EP titled Inizio. According to the lawsuit, Williams obtained the song files by downloading “the entire contents of Azalea’s personal computer” while the two lived together in Atlanta in 2009. (The two met in 2008 while a 17-year-old Azalea was living in a Houston, Texas hotel. They struck up a relationship, and Williams rented an apartment for the aspiring rapper, who was then unaware Williams had a wife and children.)


In August, the Inizio tracks appeared on digital services like iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora. Iggy and Universal Music responded with cease-and-desist letters, which the retailers followed.

Making things worse for Azalea, Williams also began shopping an alleged sex tape he’d made with the young rapper. TMZ reported that Azalea’s people initially denied it was her, then said it could be her but if it was, that she was likely underage. Regardless, Williams produced a document which seemed to be signed by Azalea (under her real name, Amethyst Amelia Kelly) that would not only grant him the rights to release the sex tape, but any of the Inizio music.

Though it never directly mentions a sex tape, Azalea’s lawsuit argues that said document is in fact a forgery. The suit states that Williams introduced Azalea to Kareem Chapman while the two were in Atlanta. She signed a management agreement with Chapman’s firm, and Williams apparently retained Azalea’s copy. With a few not-so-subtle tweaks, Williams transformed the agreement into a “music recording and composition agreement.”

“The Forged Agreement contains tell-tale signs that it is not genuine,” the lawsuit reads. “For example, it includes mismatched fonts on the signature page, paragraph numbers out of sequence, a signature line for ‘Wine Enterprises, inc.’ [sic] (rather than for an authorized agent), and provides, as an address for legal notices, the contact information of an attorney who had no prior knowledge of the Forged Agreement.”

The lawsuit insists that any use by Williams of her music, name, or likeness is in violation of copyright. Iggy is also seeking a legal declaration to bar Williams from using the “Iggy Azalea” brand for any commercial use. There’s no word yet on when the legal proceedings will commence.

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