Damon Dash has been ordered to pay $300,000 in a judgment for a copyright dispute over a mafia film he worked on in 2015. The project, Mafietta that he marketed in 2017 was done without permission as he had already been fired from the project by Edwyna Brooks. He was hired to direct the the film based on a series of books of hers but accused of wasting money and projection time by spending money on pet projects of his including a music video.
During the trial in January, he was described as being “apparently incapable of exercising ordinary civility.” The judge said he “repeatedly disrupted” trial testimony and shouted answers at a witness “loudly,” accused a witness of “lying” while repeatedly making “unpleasant noises” and gestures. Then during cross-examination he said the lawyer’s breath smelled like “doo-doo” according to a briefing U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rackoff wrote. “The court finds Dash’s testimony to be unworthy of belief,” he wrote. Judge Rackoff wrote “The court concludes that defendants infringed Brooks’ copyright by reproducing and distributing the film on iTunes and Dame Dash Studios without her permission.” His attorney has said he intends on appealing the decision.
“While we appreciate an expeditious decision from the court, we believe the copyright claim was incorrectly decided, in our opinion, as Mr. Dash was the dominant author of the work in question,” Natraj Bhushan told the Daily News. “In any event, the damages that the court awarded were based on the pure speculation of an expert so both findings will be appealed in due course,” the lawyer said.
“Damon Dash claims to help African-American women while stealing from me and my family,” Brooks said in a statement released by her lawyer, Christopher Brown. “He stole my dream and took my ‘Mafietta’ brand as his own without consent or any credit to me, its creator,” she said. “In my opinion, Damon Dash has shown himself to be a walking, talking contradiction of everything he preaches. He preyed on my desire to produce films and abused almost everyone involved in its production,” she said.
“Damon Dash has proved to be what he claims he hates, a culture vulture,” Brooks’ lawyer Christopher Brown said in a statement. “Damon Dash took African-American created content, used it for his benefit and left the owner of the film carrying the bag. Damon Dash paid for nothing but claimed to own the film. It’s pure fantasy and the court saw through his lies,” Brown said. “We will now engage in the process of collecting the judgment of $300,000.00. We want every penny, and I mean every penny,” Brown said.
Damon Dash went from being alongside Jay-Z in his Empire to 15 or so years later finding himself in a litany of legal cases from suing Lee Daniels funding the beginning of his career to multiple child support cases and this which all seem to overshadow any work he could be doing. Here’s prayers to him for making a strong comeback soon.