Jay Z is suing the legendary hip-hop photographer who shot his debut album cover, Reasonable Doubt.
The rap mogul is suing Jonathan Mannion and his company, Jonathan Mannion Photography LLC, claiming Mannion is exploiting his name and image without the rapper’s consent.
In docs, obtained by TMZ, Jay says Mannion has Hova’s name and likeness plastered all over his website and sells enlarged photos of Jay-Z for thousands of dollars each.
In court documents obtained by TMZ, Jay Z claims Mannion demanded tens of millions of dollars when he asked him to stop selling the photos.
Jay claims Mannion is making an “arrogant assumption that because he took those photographs, he can do with them as he pleases.”
Actually, he can do whatever he pleases.
As the photographer, Mannion owns the exclusive copyrights to the photos — so he doesn’t need Jay Z’s permission to sell the pictures.
Jay hired Mannion in 1996 to shoot the cover for his debut studio album, Reasonable Doubt. He said Mannion took hundreds of photos and Roc-A-Fella Records used some of the photographs for his album covers and paid Mannion a modest sum for the use of the photos.
Jay-Z claims Mannion continues to prominently display his image on the landing page of his website, where he sells Jay-Z pics and merchandise for millions of dollars.
Jay is annoyed that Mannion continues to eat off his name and image by selling his most famous photographs. The rapper claims he has strict control over his name, likeness, identity and how his persona are used.
Jay grumbled it’s “ironic” that a photographer would take advantage of a once poor “Black teenager, as a piece of property to be squeezed for every dollar it can produce. It stops today.”
He is suing to stop Mannion from selling anymore of the photos, and wants him to fork over any of the profits he’s made off his likeness.
However, unless Jay Z can prove he purchased the exclusive rights to the original photos, he can’t tell a photographer what to do with his photos.
Mannion will likely win the lawsuit, because the rapper is too cheap to pay the photographer for the exclusive rights to the photos.