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Artist Sues Arianna Grande

Visual Artist Sues Arianna Grande for Copyright Infringement

Artist Vladimir Kush and his company Kush Fine Arts Las Vegas have filed a federal copyright suit against Arianna Grande. The complaint, filed in Nevada, alleges that Grande’s video for her hit song “God is a Woman” contains images that belong to the artist. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages and a court order to remove the video, which has already been viewed nearly 200 million times, from the internet. The Defendants include Grande, Universal Music Group, and the director, and producer of the video.

What Does the Law Say About Copyright?

Federal Copyright laws provide artists, photographers, writers, and other creative people, to receive protection for their original works. A copyright, which bestows a property right on work the minute someone creates it. For example, a photographer has a photograph as soon as he or she takes a picture. A sculptor has a copyright when his or her sculpture is made. The rights are exclusive unless, and until, the copyright holder issues a license or grants permission to a user. Registering a copyright can be an important part of filing a lawsuit and collecting damages when someone uses your work without permission.

In the case of an artist such as a painter, hard work goes into creating unique and creative visual artwork. You would not want an individual to take a photo of your painting, make posters, and sell them for profit – leaving you out of the equation. Should you decide, you can grant someone a license to reproduce your artwork and receive appropriate compensation for it.

Factors Under Consideration in Copyright Infringement Cases-Is It Fair Use?

The court considers several factors in deciding whether someone violates a copyright.

  1. The purpose and nature of the use (For instance, is it for commercial use or educational purposes)
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The portion used in relationship to the copyrighted work taken as a whole
  4. The effect of the use on the potential market value of the copyrighted work

Using the above guidelines, the court will determine if the use of your copyrighted artwork falls within the “fair use” exception to intellectual property rights. Fair use acts to balance the need for copyright protection with the need for the public to freely exchange information and knowledge.

Did Arianna Grande Violate Copyright Law?

According to USA Today, Kush’s complaint alleges that about one minute into the video, an image appears that is “nearly identical to paintings that Kush painted and copyrighted in 1999 and 2000.” The image is that of a “woman in a candle flame” which Kush claims copies his Candle and Candle II paintings.

The outcome of this case remains to be seen. As of this posting, the video is still on the internet and people continue to watch it. Is the image similar to the copyrighted paintings? Is Grande using this image for commercial gain? Has the use of it diminished the value of Kush’s artwork? The court will have to take these things into consideration when deciding if Grande and her team owe compensation to Kush for copyright infringement.

Contact Our Copyright Lawyer

Sanders Law Group assists artists, photographers and creative individual to protect their intellectual property rights. Call our office at 516-233-1660 to find out how we can help you.


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