The image: Celebrity photographer David LaChapelle filed a lawsuit against Rihanna on Monday, accusing the pop star of copying his photographs in her new "S&M" music video. In a statement, LaChapelle said he likes Rihanna, but that musicians "commonly pay" when they sample someone else's music, and they should do the same when "sampling" his work. LaChapelle — who has directed music videos for the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears — is asking the court for more than $4 million in damages. "This is not personal," he said, "strictly business." No comment yet from Rihanna's representatives.
The reaction: LaChapelle certainly appears to have a legitimate beef, says Britain's Daily Mail. Several shots in the video have the same look and feel as his earlier photos, including a sequence showing Rihanna walking gossip blogger Perez Hilton on a leash that "corresponds with a 2002 LaChapelle image for Vogue." Sure, the images look similar, says Alex Moore at Death and Taxes. But there's a fine "line between homage and plagiarism." As LaChapelle should know, "you can't go around suing someone every time your art inspires them to try something similar." This "lawsuit is likely a fool's errand." Have a look at the images (copyright David LaChapelle) below:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Why your employer should clean your house and do your laundry
- 10 things you need to know today: August 21, 2014
- Don't listen to Paul Ryan: The GOP is still the party of makers and takers
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The big policy question libertarians can't answer
- What you need to know before you support the police in Ferguson
Subscribe to the Week