David LaChapelle suing Rihanna over "S&M" video


David LaChapelle Suing Rihanna Over "S&M" Video - 14th Feb 2011

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David LaChapelle

Photographer claims copyright infringement…

Famed photographer David LaChapelle has filed a lawsuit against Rihanna accusing her of stealing images from his photos for her "S&M" video. The lawsuit, made public today, alleges that "the music video is directly derived from and substantially similar to the LaChapelle [his] works."

LaChapelle claims Rihanna took images from eight of his photos and used them for scenes in the video and that it copied the "composition, total concept, feel, tone, mood, theme, colors, props, settings, decors, wardrobe and lighting."

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Photographer David LaChapelle Sues Rihanna - February 15, 2011
By RANDY KENNEDY
(The New York Times - Arts Beat)


Though he describes himself as a good friend of hers, the fashion and art photographer David LaChapelle has decided to settle his differences with the pop star Rihanna in a place where friends don’t usually end up: court. Mr. LaChappelle, known for his candy-colored, sexually over-the-top images, claims in a suit filed Monday in federal court in Manhattan that Rihanna helped herself to too many of the images in the recently released video for her sexually over-the-top song “S & M.”

The suit, which asks for at least $1 million in damages, argues that the video is “directly derived from and substantially similar to” photographs he has created and published that show, among other things, a dominatrix walking a chained man on a leash, a woman in latex headgear and another woman (Lady Gaga, to be precise) wearing only screaming headlines. In all, the suit claims, eight of Mr. LaChapelle’s images were used to create scenes in the video, which the suit calls a “willful, wanton and deliberate” infringement of his copyright protections.

Representatives from Rihanna’s record company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In the past several days the Web has been strewn with still shots from the video, which LaChapelle fans have paired with his similar-looking fashion shots.

Mr. LaChapelle called the suit purely a business matter, not personal, and said Rihanna – identified by her full name, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, in the suit – was a friend. “We’ve actually worked together before,” he told the Website Radar. “I think about her every time I’m caught in the rain without my umbrella.”