Pop singer Ariana Grande has been accused of using copyrighted artwork in her July 2018 “God is a Woman” music video without the artist’s permission, according to a new lawsuit.
Visual artist Vladimir Kush takes issue with one of the music video’s visuals in particular, according his complaint, filed Jan. 31 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.
Grande appears as a stylized wick within a candle’s flame. Kush copyrighted two “nearly identical” paintings of a woman’s shadow inside a flame in 1990 and 2000, according to his complaint.
The music video uses the same color scheme, the same cloudy sky as the background, and the same visual effects of light beams emanating from the flame, he claims.
Kush alleges copyright infringement, unjust enrichment, and false association or endorsement under the Copyright Act and Nevada state laws.
The music video’s copyright holder, Universal Music Group, and its producer, Freenjoy, Inc., didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment. Grande couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The music video has 197 million views on YouTube as of Feb. 1.
Greenberg Traurig LLP represents Kush.
The case is Kush v. Grande, D. Nev., No. 2:19-cv-186, complaint filed 1/31/19.