Lil' Kim Sued Over Zombie Makeup Photo

Lil Kim Performing - P 2014
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Lil Kim Performing - P 2014

Samantha Ravndahl, a Vancouver artist, is going to court to protect the image of herself modeling a zombie-style makeup design.

The target of her lawsuit filed in California federal court is hip-hop star Lil' Kim (born Kimberly Jones), alleged to have taken the plaintiff's work and "splashed [it] all across the internet, including on Lil Kim's personal and social media sites, to promote Lil' Kim's new work and most recent comeback attempt."

STORY: Hollywood's Top 10 Legal Disputes of 2013

The complaint provides a side-by-side comparison of what's in dispute. "This comparison reveals that the elements, composition, colors, arrangement, layout, and appearance of the images are identical or substantially similar," says the lawsuit.

Ravndahl, 20, reportedly put the image up on Instagram and other social media sites along with a step-by-step tutorial on how to create the zombie look.

In some intellectual property quarters, there's been some concern about a future filled with 3D-printed objects and digital masks. Ravndahl's legal action provides a small hint at what's coming as the Vancouver artist stakes some claim in her "original makeup design." However, the bigger emphasis appears to be on Ravndahl's photo. That's a more traditional copyright focus, aside from the existence of zombies on Instagram.

According to the complaint, "Ravndahl believes that Lil' Kim, acting through her agent, Whosay, Inc., slapped Lil' Kim's name and copyright notice over Ravndahl's face and makeup design on Ravndahl's photograph before distributing it all over the web."

PHOTOS: Grammys 2014: The Nominees

The lawsuit against Lil' Kim makes the case that whatever the rapper did, including allegedly exploiting the image as an album cover for an album entitled "Dead Gal Walking," was unfair, that Lil' Kim and her agents profited from unauthorized reproduction, that they violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by removing and altering copyright management information, that they misappropriated Ravndahl's likeness and that they even violated the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 by disrupting Ravndahl's right to claim authorship.

There's even a gratuitous shot at Lil' Kim's attitudes towards intellectual property. Says the complaint, "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 defendants couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Here's the complaint filed by attorney Scott Burroughs.

Twitter: @eriqgardner