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Photographer David LaChapelle Files Suit Against Rihanna, Claims Ideas Were Stolen for Music Video

Following up on a story from late last week, apparently it wasn’t just bloggers and news outlets who found that the latest music video by singer Rihanna was remarkably similar to the work of photographer David LaChapelle. The famous shooter has now filed suit against the singer, her record labels, Island Def Jam and UMG Recordings, and the video’s director, Melina Matsoukas, claiming that his work was copied without his permission. Radar, who was the first to discuss the story with LaChapelle’s representatives, has received a copy of the lawsuit (pdf), which is particularly damning. Among other items, it’s surprising to read that “Prior to the hiring of Matsoukas, another well-known director was asked to create a LaChapelle-inspired music video for Rihanna and that director rejected the offer.” Our years of Law & Order watching makes us believe that it doesn’t get much more “willful intent” than that. Here’s an overview of the case from the NY Times:

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.

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