Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem -- welcome to the Michigan Supreme Court.
An incident in Michigan from 2000 involving the Up In Smoke Tour, which featured the rappers, has now reached the state's highest court. The issue in the Dr. Dre lawsuit is a video which was to be played on the big screen during the show at Joe Louis Arena. The video had to be cleared by city officials, including Detroit Police Commander Gary Brown. However, Brown and the officials denied the rappers from playing the video, due to excessive nudity and violence, WDIV reports.
At issue is Michigan Penal Code Section 750.539c reads:
"Any person who is present or who is not present during a private conversation and who willfully uses any device to eavesdrop upon the conversation without the consent of all parties thereto...is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for not more than 2 years or by a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both."
However, the comments of the officials were taped and later were included in the "Up in Smoke" tour DVD. This did not please Brown or the other officials, who sued the promoters. They contend that they did not give permission for their comments to be released. According to Brown's claims, the promoters told the police the conversation would be kept private.
The question becomes whether police officers and similar officials are entitled to some privacy while conducting official business.
"They recorded the footage of the meeting and used it to sell this gangster rap DVD," attorney Glenn Oliver tells WDIV of the Dr. Dre lawsuit. "It's vile and it's got everything that you would not want your child to see on it." Oliver says that the recording violates state eavesdropping laws.
Not so fast, say the promoters. They argue that police officers are not entitled to the same privacy that a civilian receives. Not the mention, they say, the cameras were in clear view of the officials during the conversation.
"I think the very essence of law enforcement is transparency," said Herschel Fink, attorney for the promoters. Eminem didn't take it well either, saying "I look forward to coming to my f**king city ... How the f**k would they come into my f****n' city, and this is the way I get f****n' treated?"