Mushi-Shi Helmer Nagahama Sues Over Beyoncé Album Art (Updated)
posted on by Egan Loo
Anime director Hiroshi Nagahama (Mushi-Shi, Detroit Metal City) and the video and game production company Marvelous Entertainment are suing Sony Music Japan International to halt the sales of an album by the American recording artist Beyoncé. According to the lawsuit, the packaging for the 2008 album I Am… Sasha Fierce uses anime storyboards without authorization. The Tokyo District Court heard the first oral arguments in the case on Wednesday.
According to the lawsuit, Nagahama produced storyboards which were to be used for footage shown during a concert tour, at the request of Beyoncé's representatives. However, Beyoncé's representatives decided not to make use of the storyboards for the concert tour, so Nagahama transfered the copyrights to Marvelous in August of 2008. The plaintiffs allege that Sony Music Japan International released the album in November of that year with images of the storyboards on the CD's lyrics card and part of the jacket.
According to the plaintiffs, they approached Sony Music Japan International before the lawsuit, but the recording company explained that it used materials provided under a license with an affiliated American company.
Update: Former GDH International vice-president and Wild Boar Media co-founder Eric Calderon (Afro Samurai) wrote about the situation on Thursday:
I'm actually one of the producers behind this situation. It's really terrible, and we're all pretty upset about it. But, for a long time, there was going to be a larger animation project that we were pursuing. Unfortunately, that got cancelled, but they used the artwork anyway. We tried for almost a year to settle this directly with their company, but to no avail. After that, we pursued the lawsuit, and it literally took this long. I hope Director Nagahama gets what he is properly owed! His work for this was fantastic!!!!
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