‘All Eyez on Me’ Sparks Copyright Lawsuit Over Tupac Articles

Kevin Powell alleges that biopic about rapper infringes on a series of articles he wrote in the ’90s

Jada Pinkett Smith isn’t the only one who isn’t thrilled about the new Tupac Shakur biopic “All Eyez on Me.”

Lionsgate, Morgan Creek Productions and others have been slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Kevin Powell, who alleges that the film infringes on a series of articles he wrote about Shakur for Vibe magazine in the 1990s.

The suit cites a June interview given by “All Eyez on Me” producer L.T. Hutton, in which Hutton allegedly stated that “all of the interviews” of Tupac Shakur were used to make the film.

It also alleges a number of similarities between Powell’s articles and the film, including that both works center around “Tupac Shakur’s duplicative identity as a progeny of the civil rights revolution era and a contemporary of the gangsta rap era and the subsequent attempts on his life and livelihood by shady characters and government officials.”

According to the lawsuit, the film “also features a fictional character named Nigel, based on a real person named Jacques ‘Haitian Jack’ Agnant,” and that the film “features details of Nigel and Tupac’s relationship that have not been published by anyone else but Plaintiff.”

“In fact, the name and character of ‘Nigel’ in the Original Work was specifically created by the Plaintiff without the authority or encouragement of Tupac Shakur. This made up character of Nigel was the embellishment of a real life character that was central to the narrative in Plaintiff’s articles,” the lawsuit states. “This made up character was copied and pasted into Defendant’s film to play the same central character and role in the Infringing Work as he did in the Original Work.”

The suit is seeking an injunction against the film’s further release, as well as unspecified damages.

TheWrap has reached out to Lionsgate for comment.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.


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