Jay-Z has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the photographer who shot the artwork to his debut album, alleging that he’s been using his name and image without permission.
In legal documents seen by TMZ, the rapper claims that Jonathan Mannion – who shot the cover to 1996’s ‘Reasonable Doubt’ – has used his name and likeness to sell merchandise and other photos on his website.
Jay-Z says he never authorised Mannion to use his likeness, and that the photographer asked for millions in compensation when asked to stop selling the photos.
He also told the court that Mannion has made an “arrogant assumption that because he took those photographs, he can do with them as he pleases”.
The photographer has since said he owns the rights to hundreds of images, but Jay-Z says he finds it “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”, adding that “it stops today”.
Mannion’s representative told TMZ: “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.
“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.”