You are currently browsing the archives for the Music category.

January 4th, 2012

Jim Marshall’s Estate Sues Fashion Designer for Copyright Infringement

The estate of rock ‘n roll photographer Jim Marshall has sued fashion designer John Varvatos for using photos of celebrity musicians without permission in store displays.

According to the lawsuit, Varvatos infringed Marshall’s copyright by reproducing prints of Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, BB King, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and several other rock stars without permission. Varvatos allegedly displayed those reproductions in his own stores, as well as in Bloomingdale’s stores in California and elsewhere.

Bloomindale’s is also named as a defendant in the case, which was filed in federal court in San Francisco on December 29. (more…)

December 27th, 2011

Is Rihanna Risking Another Copyright Fight?

Two months after she settled a copyright suit brought by photographer David LaChapelle, pop singer Rihanna once again has the blogosphere in an uproar. Recently, a LiveJournal blog posted screenshots from her new video, “You Da One,” alongside images by photographer Sølve Sundsbø. The scenes from the video show Rihanna in a bowl-cut wig wearing what appears to be a nude bodysuit with the shadows of various shapes projected on to her body. The shots are remarkably similar to editorial work Sundsbø has done, which Fashionista reported appeared in a 2008 issue of Numero magazine. Neither Rihanna nor Sundsbø, who is represented by Art+Commerce, have released statements regarding these latest accusations.

Earlier this year, Rihanna was sued by LaChapelle for copyright infringement, who claimed scenes from her video “S&M” borrowed heavily from various sadomasochistic images he’s made. The two reached an out-of-court settlement agreement, the terms of which were not disclosed.

Related articles:

Rihanna Settles Lawsuit with David LaChapelle

David LaChapelle Sues Rihanna for Infringement

October 20th, 2011

Obituary: Rock and Roll Photographer Barry Feinstein, 80

© Columbia/photo by Barry Feinstein

Barry Feinstein, who covered Bob Dylan’s 1966 tour after the musician went electric, and also photographed the covers of iconic albums by Dylan, Janis Joplin, George Harrison and Eric Clapton, died today at his home in Woodstock, New York, the AP reports. He was 80.

His agent, Dave Brolan, told the AP that Feinstein had been hospitalized for an infection.

In his career in the entertainment business, Feinstein worked as an assistant at Columbia Pictures, and eventually photographed stars like Steve McQueen and Judy Garland. He got to know Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman, and photographed the cover of Dylan’s 1964 album “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” In 1966, Feinstein photographed Dylan on tour after the musician began playing electric guitar, to the chagrin of many loyal fans of his folk music. On that tour, Feinstein took the well known photo of Dylan in the back of a limo while fans peer through the window at him.

© Capitol/ photo by Barry Feinstein

Feinstein also photographed the album covers for Janis Joplin’s “Pearl” and George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass.” Feinstein rock and roll images were used in director Martin Scorcese’s  No Direction Home, about Dylan, and the recent HBO documentary about George Harrison.

He is survived by his wife, Judith Jamieson, and his two children.

Rolling Stone magazine is running a nice slide show of some of Feinstein’s most famous and intimate photos on its web site, rollingstone.com.

September 22nd, 2011

Beatles Photographer Robert Whitaker Dies

©Robert Whitaker--the original "Yesterday And Today" cover

Photographer Robert Whitaker, best known for the hundreds of behind-the-scenes images and album cover shots he made of The Beatles from 1964 to 1966 when the band was rising to international fame, died September 20 in the UK. The cause of death was cancer, according to a UK Press Association report.

Whitaker was part of the Australian art scene in the early 1960s when he accompanied a journalist friend to interview Brian Epstein, the manager of The Beatles. At the time, the band was touring Australia and Asia. Epstein was impressed by Whitaker’s work, and invited him to accompany the band as a tour photographer.

Whitaker accepted, moved back to London where he had begun his career in the late 1950s (he was born in the UK in 1939), and went to work photographing various bands for Epstein’s management company, NEMS Enterprises.

Whitaker accompanied The Beatles on their second tour of the US in 1965, photographing them at their famous Shea Stadium concert, among other venues.  From 1964 to 1966, he had almost complete access to the band while it was on tour and in the studio.

©Robert Whitaker--the hasty replacement image for the same album.

He is credited with several Beatles album covers, including the original–and highly controversial–”butcher” cover for the album Yesterday And Today. It showed the four Beatles dressed in lab coats and wearing false teeth while holding dismembered dolls and pieces of raw meat. The cover was quickly withdrawn amid public outrage and some speculation that it was intended as acerbic social commentary.

Capitol Records, the band’s record company, told the Associate Press that it was the band’s idea of “pop art satire.” John Lennon told an interviewer in 1980 that the band posed for the picture out of boredom at having to pose for yet another picture.

The image was replaced on the album cover with a photograph that Whitaker shot hastily in Epstein’s office of the band gathered around a trunk. Whitaker later described the replacement image as “far more stupid than anything else I could think of,” according to various accounts of the image. Copies of the album with the original “butcher” photo now fetch thousands of dollars on the Beatles memorabilia market.

Whitaker left NEMS when The Beatles took a break from touring in 1966. He stayed in London to photograph other musicians, including Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger, and also covered news events–Including the Vietnam War–for Time and Life magazines.

Whitaker’s books include Eight Days A Week: Inside the Beatles Final World Tour (2008), Unseen Beatles (1998) and In the Company of Dali (2007), which is a collection of images he shot of the Spanish surrealist in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

August 12th, 2011

Vampire Weekend Case Dismissed

A lawsuit against rock band Vampire Weekend, the band’s record label, and a photographer who allegedly provided an image for use on a Vampire Weekend album without a model’s permission has been dismissed.

Model Ann Kirsten Kennis asked a federal court in Los Angeles to dismiss the case, after she reached a settlement with Vampire Weekend and its label, XL Records. Kennis sued in 2010 after photographer Tod Brody licensed a Polaroid image of Kennis for use on the cover of the band’s Contra album.

The complete news story is available on PDNOnline.com.

June 24th, 2011

Another Photog Threatens to Sue Rihanna Over Music Video

Philipp Paulus alleges that the S&M video image (left) is a rip-off of his photograph (right)

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.

Related:
David LaChapelle Sues Rihanna for Infringement
You Be the Judge: Did Rihanna Infringe David LaChapelle’s Work?
Rihanna’s Lawyers Give David LaChapelle a Spanking

June 9th, 2011

Judge Rules for Photog In Copyright Suit Over RUN DMC Photo

French artist Theirry Guetta is guilty of infringing on photographer Glen E. Friedman’s copyright, a federal judge has ruled.

Guetta was accused of using a well-know Friedman image of hip-hop pioneers RUN DMC as the basis for several artworks, including “posters, lithographs, paintings and other art,” according to the complaint filed by Freidman and his lawyers in a California district court.

“To permit one artist the right to use without consequence the original creative and copyrighted work of another artist simply because that artist wished to create an alternative work would eviscerate any protection by the copyright act,” said Judge Harry Pregerson in his ruling. Pregerson serves on the US Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit.

A separate hearing will determine the damages owed to Friedman.

Related: Photog Glen E. Friedman Suing Artist For Infringement of RUN DMC Image

May 27th, 2011

PDN Video Pick: Wolf Parade “Yulia” Music Video, Chris Hornbecker/Hello Artists

A music video for the indie rock band Wolf Parade, shot by photographer Chris Hornbecker with director Scott Coffey. “Yulia,” the story of a Russian cosmonaut lost in space and his lover’s quest to connect with him, was chosen as a winner in the Video category of the PDN Photo Annual.

May 25th, 2011

In Vampire Weekend Case, Tod Brody’s Lawyers Decide to Quit

Tod Brody's lawyers say they no longer want to defend him over this image.

Lawyers for the photographer who allegedly provided a photograph with a forged model release for use on the cover Vampire Weekend’s “Contra” album are trying to quit the case.

The lawyers, who represent Tod Brody, complained to the court that their client doesn’t respond to their phone calls or e-mails, and has refused to pay his legal bills. So they want to drop him as a client.

Read the rest of the story here.

May 24th, 2011

Stirring Up Trouble Over Beyoncé’s New Video

Pop singer Beyoncé has debuted a new music video for her song “Run the World (Girls),” and because it seems to reference the work of other artists, The Guardian newspaper of London has raised the question: Is it homage or appropriation?

“The most obvious influence is the work of South African photographer Pieter Hugo,” The Guardian says, on the basis of some footage in the video showing Beyoncé with a couple of hyenas. But to compare those fleeting video images to Hugo’s “hyena men” of Nigeria is quite a stretch, and a little insulting to Hugo’s fine work.

Screen grab from Beyoncé's new video: a Pieter Hugo ripoff? Really?

“The work of another photographer, Ed Kashi, can also be discerned in shots of buffalo, sand, and burning cars,” The Guardian writer continues.

Sand? Wait. Are they sure Beyoncé didn’t appropriate scenes of sand from David Lean’s film, Lawrence of Arabia?

Lest anyone think The Guardian writers are completely dotty, they note that their rival, The Daily Mail, compared the choreography in the video to Riverdance. “The words Mad Max were bandied around, too,” says The Guardian.

Not that The Guardian needs help here, but I thought the opening dance moves looked a little Michael Jackson-esque. Watching the video over my shoulder, my 13-year-old daughter declared Beyoncé’s costumes “a total rip-off of Lady Gaga.” And those hyenas “appropriated” from Pieter Hugo were leashed with chains. Perhaps that’s a rip-off of Rihanna’s S&M video, which is allegedly a rip-off of  David LaChapelle’s work. What’s next? Is Helen Reddy going to come out of the woodwork with a charge that “Run the World (Girls)” is a rip-off of “I Am Woman”?

If Pieter Hugo had a monopoly on pictures of hyenas, and Ed Kashi a monopoly on pictures of burning cars or sand, the courts would be clogged until the end of time with squabbling artists. Fortunately for everyone, though, ideas are not protected–only the executions of ideas are.

In the end, Beyoncé’s video may be an unoriginal pile-up of cultural references. But it almost certainly doesn’t rise to the level of a copyright crime.

related:
LaChapelle Sues Rihanna for Infringement

You Be the Judge: Did Rihanna Infringe David LaChapelle’s Work?
Rihanna’s Lawyers Give David LaChapelle a Spanking