Mich. high court sides with Dr. Dre in spat over concert footage
DETROIT — Detroit officials who were backstage at a concert featuring hip-hop stars Dr. Dre and Eminem had no right to privacy when they confronted organizers in a videotaped exchange that turned up on a DVD, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled late last week.
The March 18 ruling dismissed a lawsuit against Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, that was filed by City Councilman Gary Brown and other Detroit officials after the 2000 show.
Brown was a high-ranking police official at the time and warned concert organizers that power would be turned off if they showed a sexually explicit video at the Joe Louis Arena. The conversation was taped and later used in behind-the-scenes tracks on a popular DVD highlighting the “Up in Smoke” national concert tour that also featured rappers Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube.
Brown had argued that his privacy was violated by the video, but Dr. Dre’s lawyer Herschel Fink said there was no privacy when police were doing their job.
Fink said on March 19 that the court’s decision was more narrow than he expected, with the ruling dealing only with the event instead of broader privacy issues, but “as I said in an e-mail to Dre, ‘We’ll take it.’”
Brown said on March 19 that he was disappointed but respected the court’s decision. He sid he understood that the case hinged on his expectation of privacy, but he said he asked for a private discussion and to have the cameras turned off.
“I would think I would have my rights protected, but that’s not the way the court ruled,” he said.
The Supreme Court’s 6-1 decision overturned an appeals court ruling.
Fink had successfully sued the city over its demand that the sexually explicit video not be played at the concert. Detroit’s mayor at the time, Dennis Archer, wrote a letter of apology.