Eazy-E’s Son and Widow Fight Over Ruthless Records
Thirty years ago, Eazy-E founded his Ruthless Records imprint to help launch his then-nascent rap group N.W.A. Now, the son and widow of the late rapper—who passed away shortly after being diagnosed with AIDS over 20 years ago—are engaged in a legal battle over the name. Page Six reported the news on Wednesday (Aug. 16).
According to the site, Eazy's widow Tomica Woods-Wright has owned Eazy-E's imprint since his death in 1995. On Tuesday, she filed a a federal trademark infringement suit against Eazy's son Eric Darnell Wright, who goes by the name of Lil Eazy-E.
The suit alleges that Lil Eazy-E and his friend Arnold White infringed upon the Ruthless Records trademark by operating their website—titled ruthlessrecordsinc.com—as if they were the actual Ruthless Records. Their site sells T-shirts and promotes concerts, but it also offers up some potentially incriminating evidence of Wright's claim.
“Our old-school outlook mixed with cutting edge technology makes Ruthless Records Inc. a leader in the music business,” reads one part of Lil Eazy-E and White's website. “Eazy-E’s first-born son and longtime friend are carrying on the legacy that started it all.” Another part of the website reads it was "founded by legendary gangsta rap artist Eazy-E.”
In the suit, Wright alleges Lil Eazy-E and White first attempted to trademark Ruthless Records Inc. last year, but their application was rejected because the name was deemed too similar to Ruthless Records. Elsewhere in the suit, Eazy-E's widow claims Eazy's son and White incorporated as "NWA-LLC," which she says is also a copyright infringement on N.W.A.
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