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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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