Photographer LaChapelle can sue Rihanna over 'copycat' video
A US court has delivered a pre-trial ruling that photographer David LaChapelle's copyright claims against singer Rihanna can go to court. LaChapelle brought the case over apparent similarities between his photographs and aspects of the music video for Rihanna's single 'S&M.' The ruling from a district court in New York, gives an interesting insight into which elements of an original photograph are protected under US copyright law. Due to the nature of the content, our more squeamish readers (and those with limited interest in pop culture) may wish to look away now. (via PDN).
Summary of the court's opinion
In a written opinion, Judge Shira Scheindlin of the Southern District Court of New York sets out the applicable laws and explains her reasoning for dismissing the defendants' attempt to have the case thrown out. The document first sets out the legal basis of the case, explaining copyright infringement and what aspects of a work are consider protected by copyright.
To prove Copyright infrigment, Scheindlin says: "'a plaintiff with a valid copyright must demonstrate that: (1) the defendant has actually copied the plaintiff's work; and (2) the copying is illegal because a substantial similarity exists between the defendant's work and the protectible elements of plaintiff's.'
She goes on to make clear the definition of 'protectable elements: 'copyright protection may extend only to those components of a work that are original to the author.' This means: 'only that the work was independently created by the author . . . , and that it possesses at least some minimal degree of creativity.'
Crucially, this originality extends only to the particular expression of an idea, not of the idea itself. As such, it explains: 'elements of an image that flow naturally and necessarily from the choice of a given concept cannot be claimed as original.'
Additionally, she says: 'A photograph may be original in the rendition of a subject. Rendition concerns not "what is depicted, but rather how it is depicted." Originality in rendition may reside in the photographer's selection of lighting, shade, lens, angle, depth of field, composition, and other choices, such as manipulation of color balance, saturation, or contrast, that have an aesthetic effect on the final work.'
Particularly pertinently in this instance, Scheindlin explains: 'A photograph may also be original in the creation of its subject, when a photographer orchestrates the situation that is photographed, rather than simply photographing a ready-made scene or thing. Thus, "if a photographer arranges or otherwise creates the object that his camera captures, he may have the right to prevent others from producing works that depict that subject."'
The test for similarity is a question of whether 'an average lay observer would recognize the alleged copy as having been appropriated from the copyrighted work.' And this involves 'comparing the contested design's 'total concept and overall feel' with that of the allegedly infringed work.'
The LaChapelle case
In this instance, the document says, LaChapelle attempts to reinforce his claim of originality by stating he 'does not "simply observe a pre-existing scene and mechanically record it." Rather, he "selects and orchestrates the themes, props, settings, wardrobes and colors" of his photographic subjects, while also controlling the "angles, poses and lighting.'
Scheindlin reached her decision by considering a sample of the eight photographs that LaChapelle claims were imitated in the video. An example of her assessment is as follows:
'The Video's "Pink Room Scene" and LaChapelle's "Striped Face" both feature a choreographed S&M-inspired scene of women dominating men in a fanciful domestic space. From this choice of subject it follows naturally that both works depict women in a living room with a man bound on the floor. Because these subjects flow naturally from the chosen idea, they are not protectible and are not probative of substantial similarity.'
|'Striped Face' by David LaChapelle (© David LaChapelle)|
|'Pink Room Scene' from Rihanna's 'S&M' video (© DefJam)|
'However, it does not necessarily follow that both works feature: hotpink and white striped walls; two single-hung windows in the middle of the back wall; windows with glossy hot-pink casings and interior framework, with opaque panes exhibiting a half-vector pattern of stripes against a yellow background; a
solid hot-pink ceiling; hot-pink baseboards; a hot-pink couch under the windows; women wearing frizzy red wigs; a woman posed on top of a piece of furniture; black tape wrapped around a man; and a generally frantic mood. Moreover, it does not necessarily follow that both works be well-lit and intensely saturated, with all of the details in sharp focus and almost no shadows.'
Although the defendants point out several differences between the video scene and LaChapelle's photograph, Scheindlin points out that: 'by definition copying need not be of every detail so long as the copy is substantially similar to the copyrighted work.'
In this instance, the defendants had also asked for the case to be dismissed on the basis of 'fair use.'
The concept of 'fair use' says: 'The fair use of a copyrighted work . . . for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching . . . scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.'
The defendants said if they used LaChapelle's protected material, it was to: 'critic[ize] how Rihanna is treated by the press, and comment on her relationship with the media.' However, the judge described this argument as 'misguided,' saying: 'Commenting on and criticizing Rihanna's treatment by the media is unrelated to the Photographs and does not require copying protectible elements of LaChapelle's work.'
As such, the move to dismiss the copyright infringement claim was denied. Two other claims under other laws in LaChapelle's original case were dismissed as essentially being re-statements of the copyright claim.
|Autumn by valenttin|
from Harvest Festivals
|Cardinal, Male by paul katinas|
from A Big Year - birds
|.. by Amar Vignesh|
from Unintentional Blur
|Freeze Time by WhistlerOne|
|Sir Mick Jagger by HetFotoAtelier|
from - Concerts : When The Lights Come On -
If you're set on investing in a seriously capable compact, no doubt these two cameras will be on your list. Here's how they square up.
Adobe's experimental Project 'Deep Fill' is an incredibly powerful and impressive, AI-powered version of Content Aware Fill. Watch the demo to see this amazing tool in action.
LEE has released a new series of Reverse ND filters that are most opaque in the middle and become progressively clearer towards the top. This makes them ideal for capturing scenes where the sun is close to the horizon.
A former New York Times photographer is suing both the newspaper and its photography director Michele McNally for over $500,000 for age discrimination and unfair classification as a freelancer for nearly a decade.
"CPS Platinum members will now enjoy next-day service, with equipment serviced and shipped the business day after an estimate is approved. For repairs that will take longer, Canon will offer next-day loaner equipment."
Irix is introducing a new filter system called the Irix Edge 100. The ultra-light, ultra-thin system is build specifically for wide angle lenses like Irix's own 15mm F2.4.
After conducting a series of safety tests, the FAA is recommending that all airlines ban cameras and other electronics with Lithium Ion batteries from checked baggage. The agency believe the risk of a catastrophic fire and explosion is too great.
The Pixentu jackets keep you and your gear warm and dry, offering useful features like lens and tripod pockets, in addition to some quirky ones like an extended hood to protect your camera from the rain.
Adobe gave the audience at MAX a sneak peek at some exciting new technology its developing. It's called Adobe Cloak: a highly capable Content Aware Fill-like feature for video editors.
Earlier today, Flickr moved its photo book printing service over to a third party services, and stopped offering any wall art options entirely.
The patent details a flipping rear LCD screen so large, Canon has had to hide the rear dial and several buttons underneath.
We've added a selection of extra images to our Nikon D850 gallery. As part of the process of rounding off the review we made sure a number of us had shot the camera in a variety of situations, we've added those shots to the gallery to give a broad cross section of how the camera performs.
Wiral LITE is an affordable, easy-to-use cable cam system that can do things a portable slider simply can't do, and go places no slider would dare go.
Not happy with the recent demise of Lightroom as a stand-alone, subscription free service? Macphun's got your back... or they will in 2018.
Once connected to a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone, Pholio automatically searches through the device storage and backs up all images and videos—complete with auto-tagging and intelligent search capabilities.
The 360 Round uses eight horizontally positioned camera pairs and one upward-pointing single lens to capture and livestream panoramic 4K 3D content.
Introduced just three years ago, the Samsung NX1 was both a technological tour-de-force and a great camera to use, earning one of the highest scores we've ever awarded and winning our 2015 Innovation Award. But its short-lived run in the photo world leaves us wondering what could have been.
The Fujifilm X-E3 is styled like a classic rangefinder, but features a built-in touchscreen, AF joystick, and electronic viewfinder – truly an old school meets new type of camera. Lay some eyes on our sample gallery to see how it performs in the real world.
Like it or not, Adobe is embracing a cloud-centric, AI-rich future with the introduction of Lightroom CC. And that's a great thing, though you may not see it now, argues Rishi Sanyal.
The announcement of a more cloud-integrated Lightroom product sees the death of the company's standalone version. This need to make payments in perpetuity (whether you choose Lightroom Classic or CC), chips away at the idea that your Lightroom library is a long-term solution, argues Richard Butler.
The XPro-C 2.4GHz wireless flash trigger that Godox released for Canon users last month now has a Nikon equivalent—the aptly named XPro-N. Sony, Fujifilm and MFT versions are in the works.
In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, camera and lens maker Sigma is extending its standard product warranty to cover damage caused by these three natural disasters.
The F4 Plus can can capture 360° stills, videos and broadcast livestream footage at 8K resolution... that's 7680 x 3840 pixels!
Lightroom is hogging the spotlight at Adobe MAX, but Photoshop CC got some substantial improvements as well. Find out what's new in the latest version of Photoshop CC.
The aptly-named 'Nude' app automatically detects NSFW images on your iPhone, moves them to a protected vault and deletes the original files in the camera roll and on iCloud.
The Zeiss Milvus family of manual-focus full-frame lenses just gained a new member. Meet the Zeiss Milvus 24mm F1.4: a fast, rugged new lens designed primarily for landscape and architecture photography.
Lightroom has built a brand new Lightroom CC from the ground up to be faster, easier to use, and cloud-based. The application formerly known as Lightroom CC will continue to exist, and will go by "Lightroom Classic CC."
Google Research did a deep dive on the Pixel 2 smartphone's background-blurring portrait mode that uses neural networking and dual-pixel technology instead of a dual-camera setup.
With the arrival of the PowerShot G1 X III, there are now seven Canon cameras built around the 24MP Dual Pixel sensor and Digic 7 processor. We take a look at the differences and what might prompt you to choose one over the others.
Meet the HP ZBook x2. The so-called 'world's most powerful and first detachable PC workstation,' it was built with creative professionals in mind, and is being debuted at Adobe MAX.