Jay-Z, Will Smith’s Fela! Settles $5Million Copyright Infringement Case With Author Carlos Moore

Late last year, I wrote about a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Dr. Carlos Moore, author of Fela: This Bitch of a Life!, against Jay-Z, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith’s FELA! on Broadway. I stated the case would resolve and made the pertinent arguments on both sides that I anticipated the trial representing the litigants would make. You can read my legal commentary and analysis here. Subsequently, after that writing, Dr. Moore (the Plaintiff) contacted my office to indicate he was impressed with my legal commentary and analysis and thanked me for even writing about the story. It was my first time ever hearing from Dr. Moore.

I just recently heard from him again, via email, informing me the case settled. Read the two pieces of relevant emails, in pertinent part, that I received. Congratulations to both parties. While we trial lawyers LOVE a good fight, we do realize, often, it is in the best interest of our clients to efficiently and quickly resolve disputes. It is nice to see both parties come to an amicable resolution, per the statements below:

“Dear Uduak:

You called it right from the start: they have settled. . . I just wanted to inform you and renew my sincere expression of respect . . .


The official statement as of December 18th, 2011

Please take note of the “Joint Statement” below, regarding the settlement of my dispute with the producers of the Broadway musical FELA!:


“The matter of Mr. Moore’s claims has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.”

For your information, the FELA! playbill (and associated materials) now bear the acknowledgement:

“Inspired by the authorized biography Fela, Fela: This Bitch of a Life!, by Carlos Moore.”

I wish to thank all those around the world who extended their support to me over this matter.


Photocredit: Tavis Smiley.com