Internet sensation “Sweet Brown” is suing Apple Inc., saying the company did not have permission to cash in on a musical mashup of her famous television interview.
Kimberly Wilkins, an Oklahoma woman who identified herself as “Sweet Brown” in an interview, said she was defrauded by Apple when the company used her voice and likeness to sell songs on iTunes.
Wilkins was interviewed by Oklahoma City’s KFOR during a report on an apartment fire near NW 23 and Villa. Over the course of the interview, Wilkins said a number of phrases — including “Ain’t nobody got time for that” — that have since gone viral. The meme has also been remixed a number of times including for Thanksgiving and during “Snowstorm Nemo.”
Sweet Brown’s case is currently pending in federal court. In the lawsuit, she claims that representatives from the Bob Rivers Show called her the day after the April 8, 2012 interview and asked “general questions relating to the apartment fire.”
According to the lawsuit, the same day the show called about the apartment fire, the station produced a song called, “I Got Bronchitis,” which sampled a number of the phrases Wilkins said the KFOR interview.
One day later, the song was available on iTunes, the lawsuit said.
“At no time did Sweet Brown consent or agree to have her name, likeness, voice, statements, photograph used in connection with any products, songs, video productions, merchandise, goods, advertisements or solicitations for merchandise, goods or service,” the lawsuit states.
Initially, Wilkins and a co-plaintiff named Sparkell Adams, were demanding $15 million from Apple, the radio station employees, and the San Antonio-based company that owns the radio station, including $7.5 million in punitive damages. The lawsuit was amended in December and does not specify how much money the two plaintiffs are seeking. Adams is described as Wilkins’ business manager, but she declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Wilkins and Adams currently do not have attorneys, court records show. The two attorneys who were handling the case were granted permission to withdraw from the proceedings on March 1.
Since the KFOR interview, Wilkins has gone on to appear in commercials, is being booked for church events and private parties, and is even reportedly being cast in Tyler Perry’s upcoming film Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas. If the rumors turn out to be true, be prepared to see Sweet Brown make her big screen debut on December 13.
Do you think Kimberly Wilkins, a.k.a. Sweet Brown, has a legitimate case against Apple?