Jay-Z has settled a lawsuit with a photographer over images that he was selling of the rapper — claiming that he made an “arrogant assumption that because he took those photographs, he can do with them as he pleases.”
In June 2021, Jay-Z sued Jonathan Mannion, the photographer who shot some of the rapper’s most iconic album covers including Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint in June 2021.
In the lawsuit, Jay-Z claimed that the photographer was profiting off his name, image, and likeness without permission.
According to AllHipHop, Jay-Z particularly cited Mannion’s website, where the photographer was allegedly selling prints of the rapper for thousands of dollars.
When Jay-Z asked him to stop selling the photos, Mannion allegedly demanded tens of millions of dollars.
‘It Stops Today’
In the original lawsuit, Jay-Z said that Mannion made an “arrogant assumption that because he took those photographs, he can do with them as he pleases.”
He added: “It is ironic that a photographer would treat the image of a formerly-unknown Black teenager, now wildly successful, as a piece of property to be squeezed for every dollar it can produce. It stops today.”
In legal documents, Jay-Z said that he had compensated Mannion “handsomely” for images he shot that were used on his album covers.
Jay-Z had previously asked the court to order Mannion to cease selling his images and grant him a piece of the money the photographer had made to date.
At the time, Mannion’s attorney Sarah Hsia asked that Jay-Z, who was born Shawn Carter, respect the photographer’s First Amendment rights to sell fine art prints of his copyrighted works.
“Mr. Mannion has created iconic images of Mr. Carter over the years, and is proud that these images have helped to define the artist that JAY-Z is today,” Hsia responded.
“Mr. Mannion has the utmost respect for Mr. Carter and his body of work, and expects that Mr. Carter would similarly respect the rights of artists and creators who have helped him achieve the heights to which he has ascended.”
The case was due to go to trial in March after the two parties had initially failed to negotiate a settlement agreement.
However, it seems a resolution has since been reached and Mannion and Jay-Z have asked the court to throw out the trial.
Court documents obtained by AllHipHop state that the “parties have engaged in settlement discussions and agreed in principle on the terms of the settlement, which includes a stipulated dismissal of this action, subject to execution of a long-form settlement agreement.”
Mannion has also photographed other rappers and their albums including Eminem’s The Eminem Show and Nas’ God’s Son.
‘This Picture ain’t Yours’
Last year, rapper Snoop Dogg argued that photographers should not own the photos they take of celebrities.
Snoop Dogg made the comments after Nas was sued for posting an image of himself to Instagram without photographer, Al Pereira‘s permission
The rapper did not understand how a photographer could sue a person for a photo that the person is in, and argued that current copyright laws need to be updated.
“When you take a picture of a n***a, that picture ain’t yours,” Snoop Dogg said in a video. “That’s a mere likeness-type situation. You’re borrowing my likeness.”
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.