The Notorious B.I.G. Estate has settled a long-running trademark and right of publicity dispute with a late photographer.

A years-long trademark battle has been concluded in favor of the Notorious B.I.G. Estate, which initially sued late hip-hop photographer Chi Modu in 2019 for the unlawful use of images he took of Christopher Wallace (also known as Biggie Smalls, the Notorious B.I.G.) in 1996.

Modu used the photographs on “snowboards, (…) skateboards, shower curtains, and NFTs” without the estate’s consent, claiming it was unnecessary because he was the original photographer. The estate sued Modu in 2019.

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In May 2022, the court agreed with the estate that Modu’s actions were illegal. The estate obtained a preliminary injunction prohibiting Modu’s widow from selling merchandise featuring her late husband’s photographs of the rapper. As this violated the estate’s right to publicity in Wallace’s image.

Prior to the court settlement, the trial was scheduled to begin this month. The terms of the settlement will be kept confidential. Which represented the estate in the lawsuit.

“We are pleased to have resolved this high-profile matter, successfully defending our client’s publicity and other intellectual property rights,” said Nixon Peabody Intellectual Property associate Staci Jennifer Trager, who represented the estate. “Christopher’s photographs cannot be commercially exploited without a license from our client. The settlement agreement demonstrates our client’s and team members’ devotion to staying the course over numerous years.”

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Along with Trager, the Nixon Peabody team defending the Notorious B.I.G. Estate includes Aaron Brian, an intellectual property counsel, and associate Mark Zhai.

As a photographer for The Source, Modu photographed hip-hop icons such as Tupac Shakur, Mary J. Blige, and LL Cool J. In 1996, for a magazine cover shoot, he snapped many images of Biggie standing in front of the World Trade Center. A year before the rapper was shot and killed and five years before the Twin Towers collapsed on September 11, 2001.