A Small Australian Retailer Is Copping It For Making Bank Off Jay-Z's Name

99 problems and now Jay-Z is one.

Jay-Z famously rapped that he’s got a whole heap of problems (99 to be exact) but “a bitch ain’t one.” For a small Australian online retailer, they have 99 problems and most – if not all – of them involve the rapper.

According to documents filed in Victoria’s Federal Court (via The Sydney Morning Herald), Jay-Z is suing Australian books and fashion retailer, The Little Homie, over claims they’re profiting from “using his name” and the lyrics to ’99 Problems.’

The Little Homie RN.

This may seem like egregious a cheap money grab from someone who clearly doesn’t need more money (kind of like Kylie Jenner and trying to trademark the phrase “rise and shine”), but this situation is a bit different to, say, Barack Obama referencing the lyrics to ’99 Problems’ as part of a comedy routine.

For those who are unaware, The Little Homie is an Australian online retailer that specialises in selling children’s books and gifts. One of its products is a picture book titled AB to Jay-Z, which was produced after a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2017 and aims to teach kids the alphabet using references to famous rappers and hip-hop artists.

Jay-Z is arguing that AB to Jay-Z is not only profiting off his brand and image, the book also contains “flagrant” copyright infringement of lyrics from ’99 Problems.’ If you look at the back of the book, there’s a phrase that reads “If you’re having alphabet problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but my ABCs ain’t one.”

That is a pretty obvious reference to Jay-Z’s song no matter how you spin it but The Little Homie gave it a crack anyway as its website claims “any reference contained in this book to celebrities or public figures and their works does not constitute or imply the endorsement, recommendation or approval of those persons.”

As for why this is coming up now, the court documents claim that Jay-Z’s legal team asked The Little Homie to stop selling the infringing items back in March 2018. However, the online retailer has seemingly ignored the request and Jay-Z’s legal team is arguing that the continued selling of AB to Jay-Z “has injured and is continuing to injure the reputation and goodwill of [Jay-Z].”

With things seemingly at an impasse, there’s now a case management hearing on the matter set for December 2019 that’ll hopefully resolve the matter one way or the other.

It remains to be seen how this will all pan out but there’s one thing we can say about the little predicament The Little Homie has found itself in: it’s got 99 problems and now Jay-Z is one.

Turns Out Being A Real-Life Ninja Is More Lucrative Than You Might Expect

You'll pay off that HECS debt in no time as a full-time ninja.

With full-time work in Australia still proving difficult to come by, it’s not easy to earn a living these days, especially if you’re someone who just finished uni and has a massive HECS debt to pay off. However, there’s a job out there in the world that not many people know about, is more lucrative than most entry-level gigs, and involves living out most people’s childhood dreams: being a real-life ninja in Japan.

Disclaimer: not actually what a ninja does.

Due to Japan’s well publicised aging population crisis, this has had a knock-on effect on the country’s number of trained ninjas, which in turn has had an economic effect. Despite what movies and TV shows will have you believe, ninjas aren’t trained assassins going around killing Japan’s enemies. They’re trained performers who help preserve and educate people on a big part of Japan’s culture.

According to NPR‘s Planet Money podcast, the Japanese city of Iga, which claims to be the birthplace of the ninja and has a population of about 100,000, sees about 30,000 tourists visit every year to experience the annual ninja festival.

But due to the aforementioned aging population crisis, a low unemployment rate, and the lack of young folks wanting to live in a rural country town in the middle of nowhere, Iga is suffering from a ninja shortage and this has had an effect on the local economy as there are fewer and fewer performers available every year.

Actual footage of young people fleeing Iga for the city.

In an attempt to galvanise the economy and revive interest in the art of being a ninja, Iga is putting more resources into various ninja-related projects that’ll hopefully encourage tourists to stay longer in the city, such as new museum.

As for the dropping ninja numbers, it remains to be seen whether people will be drawn to the prospect of suiting up to be a performer. But while the specialised training and isolation of Iga might be a turn off, the prospect of being a ninja may attract some attention on the salary alone.

Present-day ninjas can earn anywhere between $31,000 to $115,000 annually, which is pretty damn good and more than what you’ll get if you went down the retail route.

With that kind of money, you’ll pay off your HECS debt in no time!

That being said, that salary range isn’t exactly set in stone, nor are there necessarily open ninja vacancies immediately open for those willing to be all trained up so don’t get overly excited just yet.

But when you’re stuck in a situation where employment is hard to come by due to your lack of experience (which is brought on by the lack of employment), perhaps jetting off to Japan to be a ninja isn’t the worst alternative to consider.

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