Just late last year in November, E-40 filed a lawsuit against author Erika Kane and her publishers Vodka & Milk Publishing for her book Captain Save a Hoe, which is the same title as his 1993 hit song, accusing the author of copyright infringement. The California rapper claims to own rights to the phrase “Captain Save a Hoe” and found the author using the phrase verbatim as well as the song’s central character, the captain.
Of course, 40 was not too fond of the said author profiting off of his innovation. He filed a trademark for “Captain Save a Hoe” back in 2014, aiming to secure the makes of clothing and entertainment businesses. According to the lawsuit, 40 finds the book to have “substantially” and “confusingly” similar tenure factors from the song’s name, character, and overall composition.
“Specifically, Defendants have wrongfully appropriated the proprietary CAPTAIN SAVE A HOE name and superhero character elements in violation of Plaintiff’s rights in the Composition and character created and described therein,” cites the suit. “Defendants’ book and character described therein is an infringing derivative work of Plaintiff’s Composition including the structure, format, elements and even certain identical verbiage is copied.”
The Captain Save a Hoe author’s publishing company filed a counterclaim in response to the lawsuit, alleging E-40’s trademark filing was incomplete, therefore his rights to the “Captain Save a Hoe” phrase is currently void and also making claims that the market audience of E-40 and Erika Kane are two completely different sectors of people, which eliminate confusion on the book’s foundation being that of 40’s. The counterclaim also reveals other books have been published using the “Captain Save a Hoe” phrase, including a self-help book titled, The Misadventures of Captain-Save-a-Hoe.
According to Vodka and Milk Publishing, E-40 has not lost any revenue since the release of the Captain Save a Hoe book, and is seeking financial damages against him due to the allegation The Click rapper made removal requests on Amazon and ordered several retail avenue to cancel orders, inconveniencing author Erika Kane financially, which will be proven at trial.
E-40’s attorney, Michael P. Martin disputes the counterclaim “lacks merit” and according to Billboard, a motion will be filed to dismiss the claim. He also argues the initial trademark filing includes a “Captain Save a Hoe” book series and finds the existence of the Kane make a severe conflict with the book’s potential success.
“The Defendants’ decision to use E-40’s well known character and song title without his authorization gave us no choice but to enforce his rights or risk losing them,” Attorney Michael P. Martin tells Billboard. “In addition to his rights in the composition, song title and lyrics, E-40 holds senior trademark rights to the mark ‘Captain Save a Hoe’ for clothing as well as an entertainment series that he is developing. The series of books published by Defendant infringes upon these rights because books and entertainment series, regardless of the medium, are related properties.”
Does E-40 have a solid case here? Or does Erika Kane have to reevaluate her blueprint and upgrade her sense of creativity?