Rihanna Settles With David LaChapelle In ‘S&M’ Lawsuit
Rihanna and David LaChapelle have reached a settlement in the fashion photographer’s lawsuit against the singer, which accused her of using his images as inspiration for her S&M music video.
A representative for LaChapelle told Page Six that the two artists settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Whether or not LaChapelle got the $1 million in damages he sought with the original lawsuit is debatable, but his rep said, “David is happy with the settlement.”
When he filed the suit in July, LaChapelle made it clear that he had no hard feelings against RiRi; he just wanted to be duly credited as an inspiration. In fact, he thought Rihanna’s video was so derivative of his work that he compared the whole situation to music sampling: “Musicians commonly pay to sample music or use someone’s beats and there should be no difference when sampling an artist’s visuals.”
To an extent, the court thought so, too — and how could you not, having seen images from the video side-by-side with LaChapelle’s work? In a hearing this summer, the court acknowledged some definite similarities.
The court agreed the video’s “pink room scene,” which featured the star dominating a man in front of pink-and-white striped walls, was similar to LaChapelle’s “Striped Face” photograph. Rihanna’s rep and record label didn’t get back to us last night.
As we’ve said before, we’re not lawyers, so we’re not sure if this settlement will set a legal precedent requiring artists to pay to “sample” other artists’ visual images if they’re going to use them in a music video. But if it does, Beyonce is going to have some calls to make.
Let it be a lesson to all: be careful who you steal from. Take a look at Rihanna’s video, here.