April 3, 2019
A federal copyright infringement claim was recently launched in Las Vegas, Nevada against pop star Ariana Grande.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Grande has been accused of copyright infringement by a Las Vegas artist, Vladimir Kush, who claims Grande used imagery from two of his paintings in her 2018 hit music video, “God is a Woman”, without his permission.
The paintings at issue both depict a burning candle with the silhouette of a woman as the wick, set against a cloudy blue sky. As reported by the Review Journal, Kush claims an image in Grande’s music video featuring her own silhouette as a candle wick against a similar backdrop – first appearing exactly one minute and nine seconds in – is “nearly identical” to his two paintings. Kush and the corporation through which he operates his business, Kush Fine Arts Las Vegas, are seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions and want the video removed from the internet, in addition to damages and costs.
Kush, a formally trained artist with galleries across the U.S., obtained copyright registrations for each of the paintings in 1999 and 2000, respectively. Copies of the images are available on Kush’s website.
The complaint accuses both the production company associated with the video, Freenjoy, Inc., and the director of the video, Dave Meyers, of having faced similar copyright infringement lawsuits in the past.
Authors: Amanda Bertucci and Anna Condon