Sunday, 09. March 2014
14. 02. 14. - 13:00
Multimillionaire popstar Rihanna could see her hit video to her No1 single ‘S&M’ banned after a court case was filed that claims she ripped off photos in the video from a series by photographer Philipp Paulus.
New-York based Paulus, 22, from Germany, claims a scene in the pop star's bondage-themed video was based on his fashion photography series "Paperworld"
Paulus' work included a woman in a red dress held against a wall via plastic wrapping with black tape in X-marks over it.
Rihanna's video produced by her record label Universal Music which has had over 48 million views on YouTube features herself in the same setup with plastic wrapping and crosses. The scenes from the music video ‘S&M’ are almost identical to the set, the production and the photographs by Paulus.
"It is shocking that a company like Universal music, which generates its turnover with intellectual property, copies the intellectual property completely unauthorised and without respect," said Paulus.
Paulus’ Lawyer, copyright specialist Philip Jakober, said Universal Music Group had admitted the similarities some time ago but had not made a reasonable offer to settle the matter, prompting the legal case.
He said: "Certain video scenes of the music video 'S&M' are essentially the basics of the copyright protected achievements and creations of my client."
After failing to come to an out of court settlement with the music giants Paulus has now filed claims for an injunction as well as a claim for damages, and wants to have the copyright infringement bindingly settled for the time being in German territory.
The Regional Court in Stuttgart is currently deciding over how the plagiarism allegations can be judged with regards to copyright, and which legal consequences it will have for Universal Music.
If the Judge in Stuttgart agrees with Paulus, universal Music could face amongst other things a ban on broadcasting the video not only on YouTube but also worldwide including all TV usage.
After this the copyright infringement will then be chased successively in separate countries.
"The ludicrous thing about this situation is that Universal Music has for some time been bringing about a wave of lawsuits against end users for copyright infringements, yet as far as our case is concerned the usage from the photo series ‘Paperworld’ by Philipp Paulus in the music video ‘S&M’ is a serious and worldwide infringement of copyright, which is the responsibility of Universal Music," added lawyer Jakober.
Paulus’ legal costs for the trial in Stuttgart are being funded by Foris Legal Financing from Bonn, which enables him to fight against the music giants.
Paulus said: "Of course as a young artist I am not prepared to use my whole start-up capital to fight against the cold shoulder of a big player like Universal Music. I am really happy that after the out-of-court settlement fell through almost two years ago I am now being given the opportunity to work with Foris and my lawyers to fight for my rights."
Lawyer Jakober added: "Universal music exploited the economic inferiority of my client in the out of court settlement talks. After Foris joined the case as the financer, those strategies will no longer work."
In an earlier interview Paulus said he was amazed that Rihanna did not express more originality in her work. "Why a worldwide celebrity is not able to afford a creative director, who creates individual concepts and staging, is incomprehensible to me."
Paulus added: "While I really respect Rihanna's talents as a musician, nevertheless it is important to respect the creations of others, even young talent - and not to copy their work without legitimacy for earning money with it in order to make money."
It is the second case to be filed by a photographer against Rihanna and Universal Music Group for stealing their ideas, David LaChapelle has already filed a lawsuit accusing the singer of ripping off his work.
The famous US American photographer argued in documents filed in Manhattan Federal Court in New York City, USA that certain scenes in the "S&M" video are "directly derived from and substantially similar" to eight of his photographs.
The case in Stuttgart continues.
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