Singer Beyoncé is facing a lawsuit after allegedly stealing ideas from a filmmaker for the trailer of her HBO hour-long special, “Lemonade,” according to court documents.
Filmmaker Matthew Fulks filed a complaint in a New York court on Wednesday, June 8, accusing Beyoncé of infringing his copyright to the short film, “Palinoia” by using “substantially similar visual and auditory elements” without permission.
“The number of aesthetic decisions included in Plaintiff’s PALINOIA Work that are parroted in Defendants’ LEMONADE Trailer demonstrates that the LEMONADE Trailer is substantially similar to the PALINOIA Work,” states the complaint. “The misappropriated content includes both the particular elements that the Plaintiff chose to comprise the PALINOIA Work and the coordination and arrangement of those particular elements.”
Sony, Columbia, and Parkwood Entertainment are listed as defendants in the lawsuit.
According to Faulks, he was contacted about directing a video for the Columbia-signed group MS MR. It was then that he sent his clips—including “Palinoia”—to several people at the record label, including director, Bryan Younce. He continues to claim that he submitted a video treatment to Younce last July and just five months later the filming for “Lemonade” began.
The visual similarities cited are “graffiti and persons with heads down,” “red persons with eyes obscured,” “parking garage,” “stairwell,” “black and white eyes,” “title card screens,” “the grass scene,” “feet on the street,” “side-lit ominous figures.”
Fulks is seeking all profits as a result of the alleged exploitation of his work including from sales of the “Lemonade” album.
Beyoncé is not the only artist to be hit with a lawsuit on Wednesday. Ed Sheeran is facing a $20 million lawsuit over his single, “Photograph.”
Songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard filed a complaint in a California District Court, accusing Sheeran of copyright infringement. The pair claim Sheeran’s 2015 released single is structured similarly to their song, “Amazing.” The pair claimed to have penned the track in 2009.
Harrington and Leonard want a trial and royalties from the song.
Both Beyoncé and Sheeran have yet to comment on the impending lawsuits.