By David Milberg, Entrepreneur & Agent
Lemonade trailer hit YouTube on April 17, 2016, and has since received over 11 million hits. The 66-second preview starting with a side view of Beyonce’s golden corn-rowed hair and a faux fur jacket – probably 20+ seconds of the trailer show that scene, although it’s a back and forth presentation. The rest of the trailer has flashes of color or black-and-white images that could easily be tied to zombie, vampire, angry girlfriend, and cornfield horror flicks.
Matthew Fulks put out a short film in 2014 called “Palinoia,” which he claims has been viewed by various members of the team creating Lemonade – months before they created their concept and that many of the Lemonade scenes are “visually similar” to his short. Because of that, he’s filed a copyright infringement lawsuit, in Manhattan’s U.S. District Court, against Beyonce, Sony Music Entertainment, Parkwood Entertainment, and Columbia Recording Corporation.
Fulks claims that 39 seconds of the trailer’s scenes are visually similar to his short – if you do the math, that’s basically almost all the scenes that aren’t the side view of the singer. The similarities, according to Fulks, include a similar mood, pace, fonts, setting, and in some cases even the lighting. The suit does not request a specific amount for damages, and it may be as much about credit as a piece of the financial pie. Beyonce included a lot of people in her credits list for the visual album, but Fulks didn’t make the cut.
When asked about how the singer’s team would have seen Palinoia, the filmmaker said he had been considered as director for a Columbia-signed act’s video (MSMR) when he provided links to his short film to various people at Columbia, including Bryan Younce, a video exec. Younce is credited on a previous album of the singer, but not on Lemonade. Emails between Younce and Fulks happened several months before the filming of Lemonade.
As entrepreneur Roman Temkin noted, “Beyonce’s people have not commented on the lawsuit yet, they may feel it isn’t worth the time, but with all the controversy surrounding the singer in 2016 – it might be best not to ignore any issue, but get out in front of it instead.”