This Guy Is Suing Beyonce For Allegedly Copying His Film In The ‘Lemonade’ Trailer

Beyoncé is an all-knowing goddess and can do no wrong, no matter what. But, this guy suing Beyoncé for copying the Lemonade trailer doesn’t seem to agree. The bad news, Beyhive? He might have a point, depending on where you stand and how good his lawyer is. Matthew Fulks was asked to direct a video for the group MS MR and send the links to Bryan Younce, who is credited on other Beyoncé videos. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Younce asked Fulks to also send a short film called Palinoia, an entirely different published project, to Columbia Recordings.

Then, the Lemonade trailer dropped about five months later, and while all of us were furiously googling what it could be and fawning over how fucking cool it looked, Fulks was sitting there scratching his beard (I assume a New York City-based director does that a lot), wondering why in the hell he hadn’t gotten an email about this, because he thought it looked and sounded a heck of a lot like his short film.

In court documents, Fulks claimed the trailer’s visuals, sound, tone, and setting “parrot” his film, which is the legal way of alleging copyright infringement from Beyoncé, Columbia Recordings, and Sony — all of whom are listed as defendants. (Remember, we’re just talking about the trailer here, all of Beyoncé’s short film is totally hers, come on).

When you watch the whole Palinoia video, you might go, “Mmmk, whatever bro. Leave Beyoncé alone.” But, he included visual comparisons to all nine shots in the Lemonade trailer he alleges were ripped from his work in the court documents, and some of them are compelling.

The Now-Iconic Car Shot

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CREDIT: Scribd

Oh, let’s hope Beyoncé didn’t know about Palinoia.

That Parking Garage Though

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CREDIT: Scribd

The parking garage is one the best parts of Lemonade overall, in my humble opinion, and these two are pretty much identical.

The Grass Scene

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CREDIT: Scribd

Meh, ok.

The Title Cards

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CREDIT: Scribd

That kind of dramatic title card could be a coincidence, but given the other similarities, it looks a little too close to copyright infringement.

The Sounds

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CREDIT: Scribd

In his suit, not only does he show “auditory timing” similarities, but he also claims the voiceover and spoken word poetry are too similar for his liking.

There are other shots he claims mimic his film too, like those “ominous figures” (as they are called in the lawsuit) and a scene with feet walking on a rainy street.

When it comes to copyright, artists have to prove that someone took their work and didn’t “transform” it enough to be different from the original. They also have to show that the secondary work, in this case the Lemonade trailer, was profitable — which we all know it was. Additionally, Fulks will have to prove that whoever made Lemonade knew about his work, which it seems they might have (if it had been some random kid who uploaded a video that was sort of the same, it would be different). Sometimes people think alike — it’s weird, but it can happen. However, Fulks’ video was not only made public on YouTube and other small video sites, he also has proof that he sent the links directly to Younce, who worked with the star and her label long before they started working on the trailer.

I’m going to go ahead and suggest that Beyoncé knew nothing — nothing! — of any of this. But as a non-expert, it does sort of look like Fulks might have a point.