Judge Rejects Dismissal of Copyright Claim Against Rihanna’s ‘S&M’

Either Rihanna may be going to court soon or she may be shelling out some cash to settle a lawsuit. A federal court, from a District Court in New York City, has refused to dismiss David LaChapelle’s copyright claim against the R&B/Pop singer over her “S&M” music video, which allegedly has several scenes copied from the photographers images.

On the heels of the “S&M” video release back in February (2011), LaChapelle filed suit, claiming some scenes from the controversial clip ripped-off sadomasochistic images he has created and published over the years. According to LaChapelle’s claim, Rihanna asked various directors to create a “LaChapelle-esque video” for “S&M,” and provided a storyboard for the video, including prints of some of LaChapelle’s photographs.

According to the Pre-trial judge, LaChapelle made a plausible claim for infringement because the video appeared to copy protectable elements of his images.

Judge Scheindlin dismissed Rihanna’s fair use defense, saying it was so misguided and “unavailing” that the pop singer failed to raise a fair use defense at all.

A pre-trial conference has been scheduled for August 10, which should dictate whether Rihanna will fight the case in court or settle.

In related news, Vogue Italia has named Rihanna 2011 “Woman of the Year.” The magazine said the 23 year old’s ability to overcome personal obstacles, citing her father’s drug addiction and abuse at the hands of Chris Brown, to become of the world’s most successful performers, as the reason why she was chosen.


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