A French court has cleared superstar Rihanna of copyright infringement claims in a case brought against her by an American visual artist, who claimed the singer copied his work in connection with one her music videos. James Clar, a New York-based visual artist who uses technology as a medium to critique the dissociative affects of technology, filed a copyright infringement suit in June 2014, seeking €4.9 million ($6.64 million) in damages, the equivalent of €0.10 for each viewing of Rihanna’s allegedly infringing “Rockstar 101” video.
On Thursday, the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris shot down Clar’s claim that an installation from one of Rihanna’s music videos was blatantly copied from one of his creations. The court also dismissed Rihanna’s counterclaim that sought upwards of $100,000 in damages claiming that Clar intentionally brought a meritless lawsuit against her.
The lawsuit stemmed from the Rihanna’s 2010 “Rockstar 101” music video, which opens with shots of a neon light installation, including the words “Rock star” in fluorescent tubes, suspended from the ceiling. Clar argued in his complaint that this was a straight lift from his 2006 Memphis-based exhibition, entitled, “You and Me,” in which words were also composed with suspended fluorescent tubes. While the court acknowledged that there were, in fact, some similarities between Clar’s work and the opening scene of Rihanna’s video, those similarities were outweighed by the differences.
Speaking of the alleged copyright infringement, Clar said: “Yeah it’s crazy! My friend showed it to me and I thought it was pretty ridiculous. It also made me a bit angry. I mean, she’s rolling around with millions of dollars and her creative team just rips off ideas from artists. She actually ripped off David LaChapelle in another video of hers. Anyways, it’s a learning experience. All my work is filed with copyright office now.”