Two companies in court over ownership of ‘irreplaceable’ Tupac Shakur painting | VIDEO
* Tupac Shakur is long dead, but it looks like he will continue to make the news. Through his exceptional music and accompanying art, his legacy will never be forgotten. Tupac was shot in the arm, thigh and chest in 1996 while in Las Vegas. He was then rushed to hospital and put on life support, but later succumbed to his injuries. The autopsy revealed that he had died of internal bleeding.
The latest saga about Tupac involves his painting, which has seen Amara Entertainment suing Heritage Capital Corporation, Heritage Auctions and Zelus Group, a Texas LLC, for conversion, claim and delivery, injunction and declaratory judgment. Amara filed the lawsuit on Wednesday, June 15, in California Superior Court for Los Angeles County, according to a report by The Blast.
The site claims to have seen court documents where Amaru states that he is the “interested successor to the late artist and poet Tupac Shakur”. Amaru also adds in court documents that his mission “includes preserving Shakur’s legacy and ensuring the integrity of his creations and related material so that they are available for study and public display.”
Amaru says elements of Tupac’s life are currently on display “in the museum’s critically acclaimed ‘Tupac Shakur Wake Me When I’m Free’ exhibit in downtown Los Angeles” after “significant effort and successful litigation against numerous third parties who had committed torts in possession of it.”
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Amaru claims they have the right to the material that Tupac recorded and released through Death Row Records around his last years of life. These include the original cover of his last album released after his death and the painting on the album cover. This particular painting, which is currently the bone of contention, is said to have been created by Ronald Brent, who was an employee of Death Row Records.
Because Brent was an employee of Death Row Records when he created the painting in 1996 as part of his job responsibilities, and because Amaru is recognized as Tupac’s successor, they maintain that the painting is legally theirs. Therefore, Heritage Capital Corporation broke the law when it held an auction for the painting on or about May 20, 2022, having acquired it in October 2021. Brent’s job responsibilities included creating the cover scrapbooks.
While it was Brent who did the actual creation, Amaru says “Shakur dictated the design and elements of the paint, and Brent followed his instructions, as DRR required.”
Death Row Records then registered the copyright to the album on December 11, 1996. The copyright included the painting.
“Heritage Capital Corporation has no right, title or interest in the painting as it was owned by DRR and is now owned by Amaru.” Amaru further writes that the purpose of the lawsuit is to recover the painting so that it is returned to its rightful owner and can be cared for and preserved as part of Tupac’s legacy.