Paulus's fashion photographs Paperworld show images of a model dressed in a frilly gown held in place by plastic against the wall encircled with X's made of black tape.
In Rihanna's video, directed by Melina Matsoukas, Rihanna herself wears a flouncy dress, trapped against a wall, embellished with X's made out of black tape.
According to MTV, Matsoukas states: When I go out to make something, I kind of go out with the intention to get it banned - [well] not to get it banned, I always want my stuff played - but to make something provocative. So when you do something that's provocative, that's usually a repercussion. It's gonna be talked about or banned or slandered in some way. But it's making an effect and people are having a dialogue about it, so, to me, that's successful.
In a statement made by photographer Paulus regarding the lawsuit, he says: Why a worldwide celebrity is not able to afford a creative director, who creates individual concepts and stagings, is incomprehensible for me.To create new things within the creative cosmos, you can only expect this to come from a real genius; there is no doubt about that.
Paulus' lawyer also states: For legitimate reasons the use of copying Paulus' work over a million times requires an agreement that protects the copyright and the achievements and creations of our client which has never been given by our client, neither to the artist Rihanna nor to her label Universal Music.
According to this, the copyright laws of our client has been infringed and the worldwide million-wise exploitation of the video 'S&M' is unlawful.
Back in February, photographer David LaChapelle was the first to sue the singer with claims it imitated the composition, total concept, feel, tone, mood, theme, colors, props, settings, decors, wardrobe and lighting of his work. Some of the imitations include a scene when Rihanna is walking a male on a leash, consistent with a 2002 photograph by LaChapelle featured in Vogue.
Another similarity is when Rihanna is depicted in newsprint garments very similar to the Lady Gaga photograph taken by LaChapelle. LaChapelle's first job was from iconic artist Andy Warhol, for Interview after the two met at Studio 54.
Perhaps, imitation wasn't the best form of flattery in this case.