Jay-Z and Jonathan Mannion Settle Lawsuit Over Reasonable Doubt Photos

Back in June 2021 Jay-Z filed a lawsuit against popular hip hop photographer Jonathan Mannion for exploiting his likeness. The complaint filed June 15 said Mannion, who shot the iconic cover for Jay-Z’s classic debut album Reasonable Doubt had been selling photos of the Brooklyn hip-hop mogul on his website without authorization.

“Mannion’s use of JAY-Z’s name, likeness, identity, and persona was, and is, in conscious disregard of JAY-Z’s right of privacy and publicity, and of his exclusive right to control the use and exploitation of his name, likeness, identity, and persona,” the lawsuit read.


The case was scheduled to go to trial this March, but according to court documents obtained by AllHipHop, Jay-Z and Mannion have made “substantial progress” as regards to reaching a settlement and have asked a judge to vacate the trial. The docs states “Parties have engaged in settlement discussions and agreed in principle on the terms of the settlement, which includes a stipulated dismissal of this action, subject to execution of a long-form settlement agreement.”

Jay-Z and Mannion initially failed to reach a settlement last year January after the famed photographer demanded to be compensated with millions of dollars when presented with a cease and desist letter. In a statement to Pitchfork, Mannion’s representatives said “Mr. Mannion has the utmost respect for Mr. Carter and his body of work, and expects that Mr. Carter would similarly respect the rights of artists and creators who have helped him achieve the heights to which he has ascended.


We are confident that the First Amendment protects Mr. Mannion’s right to sell fine art prints of his copyrighted works, and will review the complaint and respond in due course.”

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Jay-Z’s “Reasonable Doubt” album cover was photographed by Jonathan Mannion | Image: Genius

Jay-Z’s “Reasonable Doubt” cover featured the Roc Nation founder in a clad suit and a hat holding a cigar. Mannion took the iconic shot and went on to take “hundreds of photographs” of the rapper in the mid-nineties. Mannion have also taken iconic photos of DMX, Ja Rule, Nas, Aaliyah, and many more.

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