Fashion Law: Rihanna and David LaChapelle Settle Lawsuit over S&M video

In February of this year, I brought your attention to lawsuit filed by David LaChapelle, a photographer, against Rihanna for copyright infringement. The suit claimed that Rihanna had used unauthorized images owned by LaChapelle in her S & M Video. Almost eight months later, this case has now be settled. Almost 90% of all cases filed settle before trial. Settlement in this instance arguably came pretty early. While Rihanna can now breathe from the David LaChapelle lawsuit, there is still yet another lawsuit filed by a different Plaintiff claiming copyright infringement.

For a breakdown of copyright law and analysis, please visit my FELA! Broadway lawsuit discussions to get caught up.

“Rihanna has settled a lawsuit from photographer David LaChapelle, who accused her of copying his photographs for one of her music videos. Earlier this summer, LaChappelle won the right to go to trial to contest the singer’s alleged use of his Italian Vogue images in the video for her song S&M.

LaChapelle received an undisclosed sum from Rihanna and is “happy with the settlement”, his publicist told the New York Post. The celebrated photographer had been seeking $1m in damages from the pop star and her label, alleging she borrowed everything from models’ poses to his lighting setup. “I like RiRi,” LaChapelle said. “This is not personal, it’s strictly business. Musicians commonly pay to sample music or use someone’s beats and there should be no difference when sampling an artist’s visuals.”

In July, a New York judge ruled LaChapelle had a claim for copyright infringement, drawing connections between his famous “Striped Face” photo and the video’s “Pink Room Scene”. “Both works share the frantic and surreal mood of women dominating men in a hypersaturated, claustrophobic domestic space,” wrote Judge Shira A Scheindlin. “An ordinary observer may well overlook any differences and regard the aesthetic appeal of ‘Striped Face’ and the ‘Pink Room Scene’ as the same. . .”

Guardian UK has the full story.