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Universal Sues Over Mixtapes Sent to Prisoners

Universal Sues Over Mixtapes Sent to Prisoners

Music from James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Eminem unlawfully used for inmate care packages, lawsuit alleges.

Published January 8, 2015

Universal Music is suing a group of distributors accused of unlawfully selling prison care packages that include mixtapes from artists like James Brown, Eminem, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the suit was filed in a California federal court Tuesday (Jan. 6), calling out the Centric Group and its subsidiary, the Kefee Group.

"Defendants boast on their website that their business 'was developed to eliminate contraband,' yet the infringing copies of Plaintiffs' sound recordings and musical compositions, in which Defendants unlawfully transact and from which they unjustly profit, are contraband personified," the suit reads. 

While Universal acknowledges that there are authorized distributors of mixtapes with their music, the label wants the commissary companies to pay out a maximum statutory amount of $150,000 per infringed song, in addition to restitution for unlawful proceeds, punitive and other damages.    

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(Photos from Left: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images, Rob Verhorst/Redferns)

Written by Latifah Muhammad

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