JAY-Z sued photographer Jonathan Mannion and his company, Jonathan Mannion Photography LLC, in June 2021. The Roc Nation mogul claimed Mannion, who did the cover for JAY-Z’s 1996 album. Reasonable doubt— used his likeness and name without his permission. The case was due to go to trial in March, but it appears there has been a change in plans.
According to court documents obtained by AllHipHop, JAY-Z and Mannion asked a judge to have the lawsuit dismissed. Essentially, they agreed to settle. As the documents explain: “The parties have entered into settlement discussions and have agreed in principle to the terms of the settlement, which includes a stipulated dismissal of this action, subject to the execution of a detailed settlement agreement. .”
The documents also explain that JAY-Z and Mannion worked “diligently” to finalize a settlement agreement and made “substantial progress.” Therefore, they ask the court to cancel the lawsuit.
In the original filing, JAY-Z took note of Mannion’s website, which has images of JAY-Z pasted all over it. But JAY-Z claimed Mannion never had permission to do so. He also said that when he asked Mannion to stop using the footage, Mannion demanded millions of dollars. Jay said Mannion was making “the arrogant assumption that because he took these photos, he can do whatever he wants with them.”
JAY-Z hired Mannion to shoot the cover for Reasonable doubt in 1996. He ended up taking hundreds of photos for Roc-A-Fella Records and was paid “beautifully”. But it seemed like Jay thought that was where their working relationship would end.
“It’s ironic that a photographer would treat the image of a once-unknown black teenager, now wildly successful, as property up for grabs for every dollar he can produce,” the docs said. “It stops today.”
Although there don’t seem to be many pictures of JAY-Z on Mannion’s website anymore, there are a few album covers. Other photos include the famous faces of Nas, Run-DMC, SZA, and Ice Cube, among many others. Both parties have until February 17 to file the appropriate documents. AllHipHop has contacted Mannion for comment.