When Art Imitates Art

  • Published in Film

What happens when Kanye West “All of the Lights” (intertitles, dir. Hype Williams) and Gaspar Noe’s “Enter the Void” (opening titles, designers Tom Kan and Thorsten Fleisch) and Jean-Luc Godard’s “A Woman is A Woman” (opening titles) look the same? Some name calling on Twitter.

What happens with Rihanna “S&M” (dir. Melina Matsoukas) looks like David LaChapelle (various works)? Lawsuit.

For more commentary, The Art Law Blog highlights the difference of idea and expression.

Related, check out our commentary on Shepard Fairey’s Obama.

(via Fader)


Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site


This post was very interesting. I think there are two ways you can look at it. You can see it from the point of view that Rhianna or the director Melina Matsoukas for instance, was inspired by Lachapelles original work so then really it would be a compliment to Lachapelle, not stealing another persons idea. But I guess it could also be seen as ripping off another persons vision. Grey area I guess.

Kate #

Fantastic observation! Thanks for adding your thoughts, Kate!

As one colleague and legal expert (@GregSJ) tweeted regarding this post, “any copyright issue/lawsuit is as a vehicle for the real issue: perceived lack of respect/attribution.”

Some people just want their compliments paid in cash or credit, rather than silent homage or hat tip.

Aaron Proctor #

sad that that is how the world is these days. Everyone wants to be acknowledged as the first person to do something, no matter if its good or bad. Society has turned petty, and if we already were petty, its just become worse.

Kate #

I think any artist would like acknowledgement and/or payment for such an homage/reference. It’s an interesting time, where tweeting fans the flames, and rallies one’s fanbase.

Aaron Proctor #

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