Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter has reached a settlement with Jonathan Mannion, the veteran photographer responsible for some of Hov’s legendary album covers such as Reasonable Doubt, Vol 2…Hard Knock Life, and The Blueprint. The 53-year-old originally sued Mannion back in June 2021.
Carter claimed the photographer and his company, Jonathan Mannion Photography, LLC., were profiting off of his name, image, and likeness without permission. He accompanied the claims with prints that Mannion was selling on his website for thousands of dollars. Upon the 4:44 artist’s request that the photographer ceases the sale, Mannion demanded to be paid tens of millions of dollars.
The Brooklyn rapper and photographer were initially set to appear in court in March 2023 after being unable to reach a settlement agreement. AllHipHop reported, based on reviewed court documents, that both parties asked the judge to nullify the trial as they were able to come together and find common ground. The documents state they have until Feb. 17 to submit paperwork to finalize the settlement and render the trial unnecessary.
“Parties have engaged in settlement discussions and agreed in principle on the terms of the settlement, which includes a stipulated dismissal of this action, subject to execution of a long-form settlement agreement,” reads the documents.
In the original lawsuit, Jay-Z did not mince his words as to what the print sale appeared to be. He expressed that Mannion made an “arrogant assumption that because he took those photographs, he can do with them as he pleases.” He added, “It is 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. It stops today.”
Sarah Hsia, Mannion’s attorney, requested that the Roc Nation leader respect his right to sell fine art prints of the copyrighted works, provided under the First Amendment. “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.”
Jonathan Mannion has also photographed other rappers and their albums, namely DMX’s Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood, Eminem’s The Eminem Show, and Nas’ God’s Son.