Rihanna tries to escape. Frame from controversial video

Pop star Rihanna and photographer David LaChapelle are currently in a legal battle in New York federal court over use of Sado-Masochistic imagery reports Photo District News


A few months ago David La Chappelle filed a suit over imagery she used in her ‘S&M’ promo, banned in 11 countries, which he argues copies eight of his photographs. The Guardian in London reported at the time that LaChapelle tweeted (since deleted) “The next time you make a David LaChapelle music video you should probably hire David LaChapelle.”


Rihanna’s lawyers claim that LaChappelle is trying to claim ownership of a whole genre of photography and crucially, that copyright law protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. PDN run extracts from Rihanna’s lawyers unpicking the ‘Dog Scene’ in the promo, where a man on a lead walks across the lawn of a suburban home. Celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton who features in the video, runs an extended comparison on his site. The only upside for all concerned is that if the judge does decide to deliver a harsh, brutal, punishment, it could be a source of material for future videos.


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