Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter has filed a lawsuit against legendary photographer Jonathan Mannion, the man credited with capturing the iconic artwork for his seminal debut album, Reasonable Doubt.
According to the court documents obtained by VIBE, Mannion has been accused of selling photos of Hov and profiting off of the mogul’s likeness, in spite of alleged requests to the contrary from Hov. It also states that while Mannion snapped “hundreds” of photos and was paid for his services, he was never given permission to resell any of the images and was unauthorized to use Jay-Z’s “name, likeness, identity, or persona for any purpose.”
It also states that “the amount in controversy, exclusive of interest and costs, exceeds $75,000,” a figure that stems from Jonathan Mannion Photography, LLC’s usage of a photo of Carter on its website’s front page and selling “Fame Wall” T-shirts that “display Jay-Z’s name at the top” and above other well-known artists that Mannion has photographed. Mannion is also accused of selling several photographs of Jay-Z over the years, netting himself thousands of dollars in the process. Jay-Z has requested a permanent injunction that would halt and prohibit all usage of his likeness by Mannion and his associates.
Mannion—who is renowned as one of hip-hop’s top photogs—has returned fire, claiming that his actions are lawful and that he’s of no wrong-doing in the matter. “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,” Mannion’s attorney, Sara Hsia, said in a statement.
“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. 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.”