A Grande settlement for Vladimir Kush? – Ariana Grande sued for copyright infringement

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Vladimir Kush, a Russian- American artist is suing Ariana Grande over apparent plagiarism of two of the artist’s paintings during her music video for ‘God is a Woman’.

Vladimir Kush’s two paintings The Candle (1999) and The Candle 2 (2000), are both copyrighted by the artist and both depict a silhouetted woman as the wick of a giant candle in the sky.

During Grande’s music video for ‘God Is a Woman’, Grande dances inside the candle flame producing a similar scene to that in Kush’s paintings. The background in the video also closely resembles the background of the paintings.

Kush’s lawyers started legal action for copyright infringement in January in the United States.  He is seeking damages as well as an order from the court to remove Grande’s music video from the internet. The legal action is not just against Grande, it includes the video’s director Dave Meyers, and the producers Freenjoy Inc.

This is not the first time Kush has brought a lawsuit against a musician for copyright infringement. Kush sued Pink in 2007 for displaying imagery in her video for U + Ur Hand that closely resembled his painting ‘Contes Erotiques’. This case was settled for an undisclosed fee and it would not be surprising if Kush walked away with a handsome settlement fee in this case.

This case serves as another reminder of the dangers of indiscriminately using photographs/paintings, particularly from a google image search, without consideration of that image’s copyright.