Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ – Independent filmmaker’s claims thrown out

(By Althea Legaspi) New York federal judge Jed Rakoff has dismissed a lawsuit against Beyoncé concerning Lemonade, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In June, independent filmmaker Matthew Fulks had filed the lawsuit, which alleged elements of Lemonade were lifted from his short film, Palinoia.

How Beyonce Demolished the 2016 Video Music Awards: Middle Fingers Up ‘Lemonade’ medley highlighted an otherwise charisma-free show Fulks’ lawsuit was filed against Beyoncé, Sony, Columbia and the pop star’s Parkwood Entertainment. It claimed that Lemonade and the accompanying trailer that aired on HBO lifted nine scenes from Palinoia. It also alleged that several people involved in Lemonade had access to Palinoia as Fulks claimed he had sent them his film prior to Lemonade’s creation.
However, in July, Beyoncé’s lawyers disputed the sections in contention – which included “graffiti and persons with heads down,” “parking garage” and “side-lit ominous figures” – noting that those scenes do not fall under copyright infringement.

According to TMZ, her lawyers also pointed out that the narratives for each film are completely divergent, with Beyoncé’s Lemonade portraying “an African-American woman who progresses through stages of suspicion, denial, anger and, ultimately, reconciliation in her relationship.” Meanwhile, Fulks’ Palinoia is about “a white man who is distressed in the wake of a relationship.”
Judge Rakoff sided with Beyoncé et al and threw out the case. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, the judge wrote, “Upon full consideration of the parties’ briefs and oral arguments, the Court grants defendants’ motion. A memorandum explaining the reasons for this ruling will issue in due course, at which time final judgment will be entered.”

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