The multiple profiles in question include a well-known photograph of Biggie Smalls (Christopher Wallace) taken in front of New York’s Twin Towers in 1996, one year before he was murdered, as well as prints of the word “Biggie” itself. In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court on March 15th, Notorious B.I.G. LLC (a.k.a. “BIG”) argues that the snowboards infringe on the estate’s copyrights, trademarks and right of publicity, among other claims.
“In complete disregard for BIG’s rights, and with knowledge of the infringing nature of their actions, Defendants knowingly used Wallace’s image, without permission from nor compensation to BIG,” the documents read. “Without hesitation, Defendants usurped Wallace’s image for the sole purpose of profiting from the sale of unauthorized and infringing products, and, specifically, posters, prints and other artwork.”
The boards come from the collection “Greats x Chi,” a partnership formed with hip-hop photographer Chi Modu, who is also named as a defendant in the complaint. The series uses many of Modu’s photographs (including the Twin Towers shot) as well as pictures of Tupac Shakur, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Eazy-E on multiple snowboards. In the end, the lawsuit is ultimately seeking an injunction against Yes, along with all profits the company made off the products and unspecified damages. Stay tuned for more as the story develops.