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In 2014, American artist James Clar accused Rihanna of plagiarizing his artwork in her ROCKSTAR 101 video. Clar argued that Rihanna’s “Rock Star” prop in was a copy of the artwork he displayed at his 2006 Memphis exhibition where he debuted a sculpture titled “You and Me” that featured fluorescent lights suspended in the air.

Clar filed the suit in France, a strategic move as his lawyer stated that “French laws on plagiarism are far more favorable in France than in the U.S.” Though this choice of forum might seem peculiar, Clar defended his choice by arguing that Rihanna’s video was published on a French site run by a French company giving France jurisdiction over the matter.

Clar asked for around $5 million in damages, while Rihanna countersued asking for $100,00 in damages because Clar was intentionally bringing a meritless claim against her. Last Thursday, the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris rejected Clar’s claim that Rihanna copied his work stating that while though there were similarities between the pieces of art, the differences outweighed those similarities. The Court also denied Rihanna the $100,00 in damages she was asking for in return.

Clar commented that he will now copyright his work in order to bypass unfairness such as this. What do you think about the two pieces of artwork? Was the Court correct in finding that they were more different than similar?

Credit: Cristina Gabrielyan

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