C. Vernon Coleman II

Rihanna Could Stand Trial For "S&M" Copyright Claims [Photos]


Rihanna, Def Jam Sued Over “S&M” Video

Rihanna and her label Def Jam Music must face litigation over the pop star’s “S&M” video, which fashion photographer David LaChapelle claims unlawfully depicts a number of his copyrighted works.

LaChapelle alleges the video’s director Melina Matsoukas was told by Ri Ri’s camp to make a “LaChapelle-esque music video,” even using his prints to story board the shots.

After the video’s initial release in January a suit followed on February 14.

The “Man Down” singer’s camp issued a motion to dismiss in April, but U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin recently concluded in each instance of accused copyright infringement that the concepts were not protectable, but the execution was.

The number of similarities was enough for Scheindlin to allow the lawsuit to continue.

According to the court order, the defense agued if they did use the photographs, it was to “critic[ize] how Rihanna is treated by the press and comment on her relationship with the media.”

“Commenting on and criticizing Rihanna’s treatment by the media is unrelated to the photographs and does not require copying protectable (sic) elements of LaChapelle’s work,” Judge Scheindlin countered.

LaChapelle also sued producer Los Angeles-based Black Dog Films and UMG Recordings, the corporate parent of Def Jam.

The two sides will meet Aug. 10.

Did Rihanna copy LaChapelle? Take a look at some of his most iconic work below.

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Comment Comments: 5 Tags Tags: rihanna, rihanna video, s&m

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  • Tia

    I’m going to say somebody copied because LaChapelle is a great and creative photographer who does not need the money.

  • Tamikah

    You can clearly see the production used LaChapelles work as the story board for her video. To me it is a serious case of copyright infringement. The should have contacted him to consult on the video.

  • yea

    Look how r fans gonna come a long say its ok for rihoenna to steal but if beyonce does it its a whole other ball game!and natasha I’m talking bout u!

  • bimpo

    Both riri and david lachapelle are sickos.

  • Lunden

    As an artist, it is clear that LaChappelle has a strong case. Its more than just a couple things copied. The photos and positioning were the same, the color schemes were the same, hair and makeup and costumes were the same. When you take someones idea you must pay them for it. That is how artists make their money. But you can’t steal it. You don’t go stealing logos, or lyrics, or manuscripts. If the material is copywritten you can’t claim it for yourself. Even if it was a metaphor for how Rihanna is treated, you have to cite your sources.