Vivid Entertainment, a Porn Company, is claiming that it has been shopped a 2009 sex-tape starring Iggy Azalea (“Amethyst Kelly”). Following the release of Vivid Entertainment’s statement, Houston-based rapper Maurice Williams, who also happened to manage Azalea at one point, came forward claiming he co-starred in the tape and that Azalea signed a contract that gave him “exclusive rights to manufacture, sell, distribute, and advertise ‘any’ recording embodying visual images” of the Australian rapper. Azalea’s camp initially denied both statements but then later backtracked stating that if the video was legitimate, then all parties involved would be sued. However, to date, no suit has been filed regarding the possible release of the tape.
Unfortunately for Azalea, the sex-tape scandal isn’t her only legal problem. Earlier this week, Azalea filed suit against Maurice Williams, yes… him again, alleging that he infringed upon her copyright and unlawfully misused Azalea’s name, likeness, voice, and trademark. Azalea’s suit comes in response to attempts by Williams to release music recorded earlier in her career. The suit alleges that around 2007 and 2008 Williams downloaded content from Azalea’s computer without her permission, which included unreleased master recordings. In response to the suit, Williams is asserting the same defense as he did regarding the alleged sex-tape.
Since suing Williams, Azalea has stated that the contract Williams is referring to is forged and is a modified version of an old management contract Azalea once signed.
At the heart of this media battle is a contract clause interpretation case that could either come out very well or very poorly for Azalea. Public policy considerations could direct a judge to find that it was not the party’s intent to enter into a clause that would give another individual rights to distribute such materials, and would modify the term to express the party’s true intent – ultimately prohibiting release of the tape. However, if a judge doesn't feel compelled by public policy considerations, and the contract does indeed say ‘any’ recording with visual images, then Azalea may be without any legal recourse. It will be interesting to see if Azalea and her legal team smooth out these tensions before trial or, instead, decide to go forward with litigating her claims.
- Erica Vincent (Marketing Editor, DU SELJ)