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Judge Throws Out Singer Rihanna’s Claims of Fair Use, David LaChappelle’s Lawsuit Allowed to Continue

Hot off the heals of Monday’s two posts about high-profile, design-based lawsuits moving forward, here we have yet another. You might recall that back in February, the story that singer Rihanna and her director had swiped concepts from David LaChappelle‘s photographs for one of her videos, moved quickly from internet chatter to a full-fledged lawsuit. The singer’s legal team tried to fight the suit off, claiming that usual cry of fair use, but this week, PDN reports that a federal judge “refused to dismiss David LaChapelle’s copyright claim,” and even called the decision to try and fight from that angle “misguided and ‘unavailing.’” So now, assuming Rihanna and her record label don’t just settle with the famous photographer, the case will move forward starting in mid-August. Here’s a bit:

“Both works share the frantic and surreal mood of women dominating men in a hypersaturated, claustrophobic domestic space. Thus, I find that an ordinary observer may well overlook any differences and regard the aesthetic appeal of “Striped Face” and the “Pink Room Scene” as the same,” Judge Shira A. Scheindlin wrote in her decision.

She reached the same conclusion after comparing other video scenes to particular images by LaChapelle.

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