For author / producer Edwyna Brooks, her dream of working alongside Dame Dash quickly went from a dream to a nightmare, and saw her receive $ 300,000 in a court case after their collaboration turned sour, resulting in an unpleasant one. legal battle. Edwyna officially sued Dame in 2019 for copyright infringement after her initial plans to turn her four-part book series "Mafietta,quot; into a movie never happened, and she alleged that he sold the movie without her consent.
Things got so intense in the courtroom that Dame was openly reprimanded by United States District Court Judge Jed Rackoff for his explosive behavior during the process, including the cry that one of the attorneys in the case smelled to "doo doo,quot;. Finally, Judge Rackoff ruled in Brooks's favor, writing at his trial: "The court finds that the defendants infringed Brooks' copyright by reproducing and distributing the film on iTunes and Dame Dash Studios without his permission." Let's fast-forward to the present, and Edwyna explains how she got into business with Dame initially, where things went wrong, and how she feels about him filing a new appeal on the case.
TSR: How did you end up doing business with Dame Dash?
Edwyna Brooks: “Damon gave a seminar in a small town in North Carolina 10 miles from where I was raised. Until then, I had been doing so much to take my film to the next level that I thought it would be a fluke that it was so close to my hometown. I had to risk it. I didn't want to look back years later and ask myself:What if? ’"
TSR: Considering your previous legal issues, were you hesitant to work with him?
Edwyna Brooks: "I knew Damon had a somewhat erratic reputation in business, but after his interview with Breakfast Club I also deduced that he was looking for 'Investing in Women.' I even approached DJ Envy after filming with Damon and told him Damon had stolen my movie. He couldn't have been more shocked by his response. He hoped Damon was turning a new leaf in business and perhaps making a rebound in the industry with the new movie "Too Honorable,quot;, so he was willing to see at least if my project sparked his interest. "
TSR: When did you realize that your business relationship with him was not what you expected or thought?
Edwyna Brooks: “When I came to set up the first day and he was shooting a music video without saying anything to me. It wasn't something he discussed with me and discarded my entire filming schedule causing rewrites for the next two days. "
TSR: After your recent $ 300,000 ruling, Dame and her legal team have planned to file an appeal. What is your answer to that? Are you ready to go back to court?
Edwyna Brooks: "At this time, Damon's attorney has filed his notice to appeal, but winning an appeal at this time requires proof of any error on the part of the presiding judge and we do not believe that such an error exists. In fact, considering Damon's ridiculous behavior in court, I'm surprised that he filed an appeal, but he must tell the media something to save his face. We believe that your appeal is without merit and I understand that attorney Chris Brown will seek legal fees. We see no reason for the current ruling to be reversed. ”
TSR: What have you learned from this situation and what advice would you give to other entrepreneurs to avoid the problems you encountered with Dame?
Edwyna Brooks: “This process has been quite a learning experience. I learned never to start any project based on someone's word. I don't care if you are writing about a project or filming one. Nothing matters if it is not on paper. Feelings change and so do motives, as you can see in my case, and Damon reading my contract and agreeing to sign was not enough. I shouldn't have spent a dime until I actually signed it.
As for what's next for Edwyna, well, she's willing to explain all the details of her 14-month legal battle with Dame Dash in her new revealing book, "Brooks vs. Dash: Mafietta's Unauthorized Takeover," which is available on their website.
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