Music

Jay-Z Sues The Photographer Who Shot The ‘Reasonable Doubt’ Cover

TMZ reports that Jay-Z is suing photographer Jonathan Mannion Photography LLC for using Jay-Z’s name and image without his consent. Mannion, who shot the cover photo for Jay-Z’s 1996 debut album Reasonable Doubt, has been using the photos to generate “thousands of dollars” selling prints and merchandise for years, and Jays that when he requested an end to this practice, Mannion demanded “tens of millions of dollars.”

Jay’s lawsuit points out that while Mannion was hired to shoot the cover and had hundreds of leftover, unused images, he was compensated for the photo sessions and Jay-Z maintains the rights to how his likeness is used. Mannion was never given permission to sell or otherwise use the photos from the Reasonable Doubt sessions, with Jay calling it “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.” The lawsuit demands Mannion pay Jay any profits he’s made from the sale of the prints and merch using his image.

Speaking of profit from Jay-Z’s image, it was only March that a signed Topps trading card bearing it was sold for a record-breaking sum, raking in $105,780 at auction. If that’s what a mass-produced flick of Jay-Z goes for, it’s no wonder Mannion wanted a piece of the action — and why Jay, the ultimate businessman, wanted that piece back.

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