JAY-Z Sues 'Reasonable Doubt' Photographer Jonathan Mannion for Exploitation of His Name and Image

A lawyer for the photographer is “confident that the First Amendment protects Mr. Mannion’s right to sell fine art prints of his copyrighted works.”

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JAY-Z has filed a lawsuit against Jonathan Mannion, the photographer behind the album art of his debut album Reasonable Doubt, for exploiting his name and image without permission.

Hov is reportedly suing both Mannion and his company, Jonathan Mannion Photography, LLC, for using the artist’s name and likeness on his website as well as selling photos of the artist for thousands of dollars. The Roc Nation head also alleges that Mannion demanded tens of millions of dollar when he was asked to stop using the photos; JAY claims that the photographer is making an “arrogant assumption that because he took those photographs, he can do with them as he pleases.”

Furthermore, the artist asserts that there are photos of him on Mannion’s website, where other photos and merchandise of JAY-Z are being sold. Hov has “strict control over whether and how his name, likeness, identity and persona are used,” however, and the photographer was never given permission to use the images in any way. Mannion supposedly took hundreds of photos of a young Hov in 1996 for Reasonable Doubt, and he was apparently paid a good amount of money by Roc-A-Fella for the images. The famed rapper now notes that 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.”

JAY-Z is now asking Mannion to immediately stop selling the photos of him and to hand over the profits Mannion has made from his likeness. An attorney for Mannion shared in a statement: “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. 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. We are confident that the First Amendment protects Mr. Mannion’s right to sell fine art prints of his copyrighted works, and will review the complaint and respond in due course.”

Elsewhere in music, take a look at this short tour video of the inside of Air Drake.

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