Plantiff Kevin Powell claims in documents filed Friday, June 23, 2017 that "All Eyez On Me" borrows from articles he wrote and interviews he had done with Shakur in the 1990s for Vibe magazine. Deadline reports that the movie's writers and producers, including Lionsgate, are being sued by veteran music journalist Kevin Powell for infringement.
The detailed suit highlights the ways the film copied the journalist's work including the fact that the movie's producer LT Hutton openly admitted to watching "all of the interviews" while in the process of making the film. The film follows Shakur from his early days in New York City to his evolution into being one of the world's most recognized and influential voices before his untimely death at the age of 25. Powell points out several similarities betwen his articles and the film, including the use of a nightclub owner named Nigel that he fictionalized in the articles, based on a real person known as named "Haitian Jack".
Keith White, one of Powell's lawyers, told CBC News in a statement that his client "took creative licence" but consistently covered Shakur's story with "integrity and dignity". "There are stories with fictional characters and re-worked narratives that are unique to the Original Work that appear in the Infringing Work", the 16-page filing asserts (read it here).
Brooklyn-based attorneys White and Kenneth Montgomery represent Powell in the action. Powell is seeking a series of damages, including $180,000 for each "broadcast" of the film. A representative for Lionsgate declined to comment Saturday.
The film managed to rake in an impressive estimated $27.1 million in its debut weekend, far surpassing analyst expectations of a range of $17 to $20 million.