Ariana Grande has settled the federal copyright infringement lawsuit brought against her by a Las Vegas-based “Metaphorical Realism” artist over use of an image of a woman in a candle flame in the pop star’s widely viewed “God Is a Woman” music video.
Vladmir Kush, owner of Kush Fine Art in Las Vegas, sued Grande, Universal Music Group, video director Dave Meyers and video producer Nathan Scherrer and his company Freenjoy, Inc. in January alleging that they used an image of a candle that was identical to paintings that Kush painted and copyrighted in 1999 and 2000. The artistic rendering of the candle was used in the video for a little more than a minute.
At one point, in the four minute video Grande is shown dancing inside the flame of a candle and Kush argued that that candle was “strikingly similar” to his signature artwork titled “The Candle.”
The video has been viewed more than 241 million times since it was posted July 13, 2018.
“Defendants clearly copied Mr. Kush’s expression of this idea,” according to the original complaint. “Specifically, defendants chose to use the same color palette, the same background of a cloudy sky, the same ring effect of the clouds around the flame, the same light beams radiating from the flame, and the same color candle, light fading to dark."
In July, the two sides announced in court papers that they had “reached an agreement” to resolve the lawsuit, but that they needed “additional time to finalize the settlement.” However, notice of the parties voluntary dismissal was filed with the court Aug. 16. According to court papers, Kush agreed to voluntarily dismiss all his claims against Grande and UMG because they had reached a resolution.
“The matter was settled to the satisfaction of all the parties,” says Lincoln Brandlow, attorney for Ariana Grande, UMG, Dave Meyers, Nathan Scherrer and Freenjoy.