David LaChapplle is famous for his sexy, colorful, highly saturated and fetish-y images; if you saw Rihanna's latest video, "S&M" — with its latex and riotous hues — you may have thought it was a great example of LaChappelle's work. The problem is, he didn't direct the clip. So he's suing.
Radar reports that in the court documents, LaChapelle notes just how similar his copyrighted work is to the costumes and poses used in Rihanna's video, calling it "willful, wanton and deliberate" acts of copyright infringement.
The Daily Mail has a bunch of side-by-side examples, comparing scenes and concepts from Rihanna's clip — walking a man on a leash! Jumping on furniture while wearing an afro wig! Wearing a gimp mask! Putting a giant cherry on your head! — to photographs taken by LaChappelle.
Why not sue Melina Matsoukas, the woman who directed the clip? Good question: The documents state that Matsoukas was "asked by Rihanna or persons acting on her behalf to create a LaChapelle-esque music video." Whoops. Also?
In addition, LaChapelle alleges that "the storyboards used for the Music Video consisted of or contained prints of the LaChapelle Works or other LaChapelle photographs."
Uh-oh. Clearly references to existing works are de rigeur in music, photography, art and film. But is asking a director to copy a different, living photographer/director illegal? Guess we'll find out.
Did Rihanna Rip Off Famed Photographer For Her New Video? S&M Strikingly Similar To David LaChapelle's Work [Daily Mail]
EXCLUSIVE COURT DOCUMENTS: Rihanna Sued By David LaChapelle Over 'S&M' Music Video [Radar Online]