Photographer David LaChapelle has sued Rihanna, alleging that the singer’s raunchy S&M music video was ‘directly derived’ from eight of his images, according to details of a lawsuit posted online.
LaChapelle, a renowned US fashion photographer, claims that the Rihanna video copied the ‘composition, total concept, feel, tone, mode, theme, colours, props, settings, decors, wardrobe and lighting’.
LaChapelle told Amateur Photographer tonight: ‘I really like Riri – this is not personal, strictly business.
‘Musicians commonly pay to sample music or use someone’s beats and there should be no difference when “sampling” artist’s visuals.’
But bringing a successful legal action may prove difficult.
The storm may evoke memories of a copyright dispute over photographer Lewis Morley?s iconic 1963 image of Christine Keeler, sitting naked on a dining chair at the height of the Profumo sex scandal. Morley claimed copyright in the way Keeler posed on the chair.
In 2001 Morley accused producers of a West End play, called Entertaining Mr Sloane, of breach of copyright by using pictures of actors adopting a Keeler-like pose on promotional material.
Morley?s lawyers claimed that the photographer held copyright in the way in which the nude subject was posed in relation to the chair, the camera, the lighting of the shot and the background.
Staff at AP discovered that five years earlier, in 1958, the magazine had published a photograph of a ballerina called Mimi adopting a similar pose in a picture taken by Carlo Bevilacqua.
And the style has been copied by many since, including by Keith Chegwin who appeared naked on a chair for a TV series on Channel 5.
Rihanna?s record label has yet to publicly issue a response.