First David LaChapelle sued Rihanna for infringement, claiming she ripped off some of his photographs to create the video for her hit song S&M. Now a young Paris fashion photographer is threatening to sue on the grounds that Rihanna ripped off his work, too.
Photographer Philipp Paulus, 19, issued a press release claiming that a scene from the S&M video showing Rihanna pinned to a wall with plastic wrap and black tape is identical to the “set, staging and photographies” of Paulus’s “Paperworld” fashion series.
“The copyright laws of our client has been infringed and the worldwide million-wise exploitation of the video “S&M“ is unlawful,” Paulus’s lawyer says in a press release which was badly translated from the French before it was posted by the celebrity watch site Radar Online.com.
“Why a worldwide celebrity is not able to afford a creative director…is incomprehensible to me,” Paulus says, adding that Rihanna “stole ideas from a creative talent” rather than create her own work.
The press release also accuses Universal Music, Rihanna’s record label, of hypocrisy. Universal spends a lot of money and resources to locate and admonish those who infringe its copyrighted music, the press release points out. “It is even more astonishing that – how in this case – the major-label Universal Music does exactly what itself denounces and admonishes – namely the infringement of the copyright of others!!”
Where and when Paulus actually files suit remains to be seen, but if he follows through on his threat, he’ll have the same uphill legal battle that LaChapelle is having. That is, he’ll have to prove that Rihanna copied his photographic execution–including elements such as lighting, styling, props, lenses, camera angles, etc–and not just his creative ideas.
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