Beyonce Sued By Independent Filmmaker Over ‘Lemonade’ Trailer, Case Is Dismissed
Beyonce was hit with a lawsuit in June from a filmmaker alleging she copied his short film for her Lemonade trailer. As of August 31, however, that case has been dismissed.
Matthew Fulks accused the "Formation" singer (as well as Sony, Columbia and Beyonce's company Parkwood Entertainment) of copyright infringement, claiming Lemonade and the trailer for Beyonce’s visual album copied “substantial parts" of his own short film Palinoia. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a New York judge decided Fulks' case didn't hold water.
"Upon full consideration of the parties' briefs and oral arguments, the Court grants defendants' motion," the judge wrote in his legal opinion. "A memorandum explaining the reasons for this ruling will issue in due course, at which time final judgment will be entered."
Fulks said he was in contact with Bryan Younce, the Senior Vice President of Video and Content Production at Columbia, who worked with Beyonce on her 2013 self-titled album. Fulks also claimed he spoke with Younce about directing a music video for indie pop duo MS MR, and that various clips of his -- one of which was Palinoia -- were sent to the label.
Fulks also stated that Younce encouraged him to submit a video treatment to the label in July 2015, five months before filming for Lemonade started.
"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,” Fulks’ complaint said. "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."
Fulks pinpointed nine specific Lemonade visuals he feels were lifted from his own work, including "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," and "side-lit ominous figures."
Fulks sought damages from Beyonce's Parkwood and her labels, as well as profits made by Lemonade in its various formats. You can review the Palinoia and Lemonade trailers below for the similarities that Fulks proclaimed. The judge will elaborate on his decision in a memorandum to come.