Beyoncé cannot catch a break legally. Just last week, the musician agreed to settle the $20 million copyright lawsuit filed against her by the estate of the late New Orleans-based rapper Anthony Barré – better known as Messy Mya – which filed suit against her for allegedly sampling Mya’s vocals on her hit track "Formation.” The settlement comes after Beyoncé was handed a preliminary loss when Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown refused to dismiss the estate of Barré's lawsuit, denying a request from Beyoncé’s legal team that she declare the video a protected fair use and dismiss the suit in its entirety.
Now, Beyoncé’s Formation is under fire again, as indie filmmaker Kimberly Roberts, who filmed her experience waiting out Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, has filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against Prettybird Pictures, the makers of Beyoncé’s Formation video.
According to Roberts, while she authorized Beyoncé’s camp to use a portion of the documentary, entitled, “Trouble the Water,” in exchange for payment and royalties, she has not seen a cent of the money, even though her copyright-protected footage has been used in Beyoncé’s concerts and other music videos without permission.
Roberts – whose Oscar nominated film was captured, in part, on a $20 camcorder she purchased a week before the storm hit Louisiana – is seeking damages for breach of contract and copyright infringement, alleging that Beyoncé’s camp “surreptitious” stole her intellectual property.