American rapper, Shawn Corey Carter, professionally known as JAY-Z is taking Jonathan Mannion, the photographer behind his debut album cover art to court amid allegations of unauthorised use of his likeness.
The popular rap mogul hired the photographer, Jonathan Mannion to shoot the iconic black-and-white cover of his 1996 debut album, Reasonable Doubt, which has since gone to become a hip-hop classic.
The photographer took hundreds of images during the session, with officials at JAY-Z’s then-label, Roc-A-Fella Records, paying Mannion for the use of the pictures selected.
However, Jay-Z claims Mannion has since been trying to profit off of the remaining images without his permission, selling the shots via his company website, Jonathan Mannion Photography LLC, where JAY-Z’s name and likeness are prominently displayed.
Now, JAY-Z is taking the case to court, arguing Mannion, who is white, is making an “arrogant assumption that because he took those photographs, he can do with them as he pleases”.
In the documents, he said: “(It’s) 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.”