Page last updated at 09:05 GMT, Thursday, 24 July 2008 10:05 UK

50 Cent suing US fast food chain

50 Cent
The rapper's real name is Curtis Jackson

Rapper 50 Cent is suing Taco Bell claiming the US fast food chain has used his name and image without permission in an advertising campaign.

New York court papers say the advert features the star, real name Curtis Jackson, being encouraged to change his name to 79 Cent, 89 Cent or 99 Cent.

The rapper is accusing the chain of "diluting the value of his good name".

The advertisement is part of Taco Bell's "Why Pay More?" campaign, which promotes items for under a dollar.

50 Cent also accuses Taco Bell of employing a guerrilla advertising campaign to fool consumers into thinking he had endorsed the chain.

The lawsuit says the Mexican-themed chain sent a letter to media organisations encouraging the rapper to change his name for one day to promote its advertising campaign.

The letter said that, if the star agreed, Taco Bell would donate $10,000 (5,000) to the charity of his choice.

'Good faith'

50 Cent's lawyer, Peter D Raymond, said his client did not learn about the letter or that he was featured in the campaign until he saw a news report about it.

"Without seeking or obtaining Jackson's authorisation, defendant Taco Bell made him the star and focus of its nationwide advertising campaign by using his name, persona and trademark to promote Taco Bell's business and products," court papers said.

Mr Raymond said his client was seeking $4m (2m) in damages.

"We made a good faith, charitable offer to 50 Cent to change his name to either 79, 89 or 99 Cent for one day by rapping his order at a Taco Bell," Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch said in a statement.

"We would have been very pleased to make the $10,000 donation to the charity of his choice."

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