Jay-Z has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the photographer who shot the cover for his debut album, 1996’s Reasonable Doubt. The rapper alleges that Jonathan Mannion has been using his name and image without permission.
TMZ have seen the legal documents which state that Jay-Z suggests Mannion has used his name and likeness to sell merchandise and photos on his website. The New Yorker says that he never allowed the photographer to use his likeness, and Mannion asked for millions of dollars in compensation when the rapper first asked him to stop selling the photos.
He informed the court that Mannion made an “arrogant assumption that because he took those photographs, he can do with them as he pleases”.
The photographer claims he owns the rights to hundreds of images. However, Jay-Z rebutted this claim. He said 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.”