‘Steal My Swag, You Gonna Have to Pay’ | Courthouse News Service
Sunday, December 3, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

‘Steal My Swag, You Gonna Have to Pay’

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A make-up artist claims in court that rapper Lil' Kim stole her copyrighted Zombie make-up design for an album cover and "dissed" the makeup artist when she tried to resolve the matter out of court.

In her federal complaint, Vancouver, B.C., photographer and make-up artist Samantha Ravndahl claims she created a "striking" zombie-make up design that Lil' Kim then "splashed all across the internet" without asking for permission.

Ravndahl says she took a self-portrait photograph in her zombie-make-up and posted the image on Instagram in October 2013.

The lawsuit features side-by-side images of Ravndahl and the image Lil' Kim used for her latest album, "Dead Gal Walking."

Ravndahl lawsuit says the rapper had the brass to add her own copyright notice and watermark to the design.

"This comparison reveals that the elements, composition, colors, arrangement, layout, and appearance of the images are identical or substantially similar," the 12-page lawsuit claims.

In a couple of side swipes at the rapper, Ravndahl says Lil' Kim, "at one point a popular recording artist," resorted to stealing the design to promote her "most recent comeback attempt."

Ravndahl claims that Lil' Kim once was a "staunch advocate for intellectual property rights" and accused rapper Nicki Minaj of copying her look.

"Lil' Kim is a staunch advocate for intellectual property rights who once complained publicly about fellow performer Nicki Minaj's misappropriation of her (Lil' Kim's) proprietary 'swag,' stating 'They kind of used me to stamp it, because they knew that they were gonna kinda steal my swag[,]' and 'If you are going to steal my swag, you gonna have to pay,'" the complaint states.

Ravndahl wants the court to enjoin the rapper from using the image, statutory damages of $150,000, disgorgements of profits and damages for copyright violations, misappropriation of likeness, and violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act.

"Ravndahl reached out to Lil' Kim in an attempt to amicably resolve the matter, but was, unfortunately, dissed by Lil' Kim's camp," the complaint states.

Named as defendants are Kimberly Jones dba Lil' Kim, her company International Rock Star Records and celebrity website Whosay.

Ravndahl is represented by Scott Burroughs with Doniger/Burroughs of Culver City.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.