BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Friday, 15 April, 2005, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
OutKast settle Rosa Parks wrangle
Rosa Parks
Parks was arrested and charged for violating segregation laws
Hip hop duo OutKast and US civil rights activist Rosa Parks have settled a long-running legal wrangle over the use of her name as a song title.

The award-winning act and record company Sony BMG have not admitted any wrongdoing, but have agreed to help educate young people about her work.

Ms Parks, 92, refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man in 1950s Alabama, sparking a boycott.

OutKast and other artists are to record a tribute CD to the civil rights icon.


A television programme about Ms Parks' legacy will also be made and distributed to schools on DVD.

OutKast and their record company will work in conjunction with the Raymond and Rosa Parks Institute of Self Development on a number of educational initiatives.

Sony BMG's lawyer Joe Beck said the defendants were pleased with the settlement.

"We think it will go a long way towards teaching a new generation about Rosa Parks and her accomplishments.

OutKast's Big Boi (left) and Andre 3000
It was nominated for a Grammy award in 1999
It includes the lyrics: "Hush that fuss, everybody move to the back of the bus"
It is taken from the band's 1998 Aquemini album
The album has sold about 2.5 million copies

"We appreciate Ms Parks' and her lawyers' acknowledgment of the First Amendment in protecting artistic freedom," he said.

Legal action was originally taken in 1999, in which Ms Parks alleged defamation and and trademark infringement because OutKast had not asked permission to use her name.

This challenge was dismissed on the grounds that use of Ms Parks' name was permitted under the First Amendment.

A second case worth $5bn (2.65bn) was brought by Ms Parks' lawyers in 2004, which was aimed at OutKast's record companies rather than the band.

Relatives of Ms Parks, who has suffered from dementia since at least 2002, criticised her lawyers and carers, saying there would have been no objection to the song if she had been in good health.

They alleged that she was probably unaware of the legal action.


Former Mayor of Detroit Dennis Archer, who became Ms Parks' guardian in October, also welcomed the settlement.

"The sacrifices and work that Mrs Parks has made during her life to ensure that all people are treated fairly under the law is acknowledged and appreciated by both sides," he said.

Ms Parks was arrested in 1955 after refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white man in the segregated southern US.

The 381-day bus boycott was organised by civil rights leader Martin Luther King as a result of her action.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific