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Beyoncé claims she didn’t copy Lemonade from indie filmmaker

The singer’s legal team have hit back with a motion denying she stole from a film about a ‘distressed’ white man

Beyoncé’s lawyers have filed a motion against a lawsuit made by an indie filmmaker, which accused the singer of copying his work for Lemonade.

Matthew Fulks, a creative director at WDRB, brought the official complaint to court back in June, claiming that Beyonce’s album teaser lifted parts of his short film, Palinoia. He pointed to nine specific segments that Lemonade supposedly ripped off; including “graffiti and persons with heads down,” “red persons with eyes obscured,” “parking garage,” “feet on the street,” and “side-lit ominous figures.” According to Fulks, Lemonade stole the “total concept and feel”. Fulks asserted that he was approached by Columbia to direct a video for the band MS MR: from there, Sony and Bey’s Parkwood Entertainment team had full access to the film last year to make it possible.

Beyonce’s lawyers have since responded to the lawsuit. As TMZ reports, a motion points out that the thematic differences between the two works, particularly regarding race. Lemonade is described as a story of “an African-American woman who progresses through stages of suspicion, denial, anger and, ultimately, reconciliation in her relationship.” In contrast, Palinoia is about a “white man who is distressed in the wake of a failed relationship”.

“A straightforward comparison of the parties’ works provides a textbook example of what does not constitute a legally cognizable claim of infringement,” the motion reads. “The SAC describes elements and features of the works in abstractions so broad as to be meaningless – because, as even a cursory review of the parties’ works makes clear, at the level of copyrightable expression the works are markedly dissimilar.”

Upon Lemonade’s release, Nelson Carvajal, a filmmaker and visual artist, created a video essay “Film Fidelity: Beyoncé's Lemonade”, which explored the various references the visual album made to cult filmmakers and artists, from David Lynch to Terrence Malick, Cameron Jamie and Pipilotti Rist.

Bey has also been accused of plagiarism in the past, as she was accused of borrowing from artist Alexander Ekman for a routine in her Formation world tour.

A hearing is currently set for 25 August, and read the full motion here.