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: