Vegas artist sues Ariana Grande over 'God is a Woman' image


LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas artist is suing pop music star Ariana Grande, alleging federal copyright infringement over an image of a woman in a candle flame in the pop star’s widely-viewed “God is a Woman” music video.

Representatives for Grande did not immediately respond Monday to messages about the lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Nevada by attorneys for Vladimir Kush and his company Kush Fine Arts Las Vegas.

The lawsuit calls the image that appears a little more than a minute into Grande’s 2018 music video nearly identical to paintings that Kush painted and copyrighted in 1999 and 2000.

Kush seeks unspecified monetary damages and a court order to remove the video from the internet.

The four-minute video has been viewed almost 200 million times on YouTube since it was posted last July.

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The lawsuit lists Grande under the name Ariana Grande-Butera, along with defendants Universal Music Group and the video director, producer and production company.

Susan Gutierrez, an attorney who represented Grande in a 2016 copyright infringement lawsuit, declined on Monday to comment about the Las Vegas case.

The 2016 case, in Los Angeles, involved a songwriter’s claim that Grande’s song “One Last Time” was similar to his work of two years earlier. It was settled in August 2017.

Kush’s attorney in Las Vegas, Mark Tratos, represented silent magician Teller, of Penn & Teller, in a 2012 copyright lawsuit that found a Dutch entertainer guilty of stealing a Teller magic trick and selling it online.

Tratos declined on Monday to comment.

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