Civil rights icon sues hip-hop duo over hit

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The Independent US

Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger in Alabama half a century ago became a defining moment in the civil rights movement, has been granted permission to sue a rap duo who named a song after her.

The Supreme Court's decision clears the way for Ms Park's lawsuit against OutKast. The group's lawyers had appealed against a ruling that the song, "Rosa Parks", amounted to "false advertising". While the Grammy nominated track does not mention Ms Parks by name the chorus says: "Ah, ha, hush that fuss. Everybody move to the back of the bus." Ms Parks became an icon of the civil rights movement when, in 1955, she refused to give up her seat in the "Whites Only" section of a bus in Montgomery and sit in the seats for black people at the rear. Her arrest led to a 381-day boycott of the bus system by blacks and the end of segregation on public transport.

Ms Parks, 90, who lives in Detroit, sued in 1999, claiming that use of her name without permission constituted false advertising and infringed on her right to publicity. She also claimed that it defamed her character and interfered with a business relationship.

OutKast's lawyer, Joe Beck said: "The band believes the song is fully protected by the First Amendment and looks forward to winning the case."