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Author Topic: Another Interesting Legal situation - image use LeBron James  (Read 3444 times)

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Uncle Pete

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« on: December 28, 2020, 15:11 »

March 2020

Brief summary, read on if you want: 

Someone posted a cropped photo, that came from the photographers site, on LJs personal facebook page. That is either James staff or himself.

The defendants are accused of infringing on Mitchell's copyright by reproducing and publicly displaying the photograph without the photographers consent. Mitchell demands a jury trial to assess whether Section 501 of the federal Copyright Act was violated. He seeks damages that would reflect profits, income, receipts and other benefits derived by James and his co-defendants or, in the alternative, damages of up to $150,000 per infringement.

December 2020

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James filed a countersuit against photographer Steven Mitchell in August after Mitchell sued James for using his photos in social media posts without permission, according to The Athletic's Daniel Kaplan.

Kaplan reported James is seeking a minimum of $1 million in damages plus attorney fees.

Part of this, as I see it, is a photographer who's looking for a windfall payday for a misuse. The team has offered to negotiate but Mitchell has declined and is asking for a jury trial and the maximum $150,000 per use. Which of course means people, not an arbitrator or judge will rule, if it gets to that. Smart move when suing a rich celebrity? Maybe but maybe not as...

LeBrons attorneys are asking for $1 million in damages.

Right of publicity is the right to control the commercial value of your name, likeness, voice, signature, or other personal identifying traits that are unique to you.

The claim will most likely be based on this and Mitchell has LeBron's images on his website as promotion. But Mitchell has the rights and was allowed to take these as a professional photographer. So is that commercial use, or just examples of his work?

California, where there are celebrities and laws have been created to protect them and their right of publicity:

"California Civil Code, Section 3344, provides that it is unlawful, for the purpose of advertising or selling, to knowingly use anothers name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness without that persons prior consent."

Meaning, this could be very interesting to watch, especially from a photographers point of view. Suing celebrities for using their own likeness on FB has become a recent trend and a way to go after deep pockets. But the courts have never heard the other side, which could change laws back in favor of a persons right to decide who profits from their personal likeness.

We don't want anyone using our images, without permission and without paying. They don't want people using their photos to profit from celebrity attraction.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2020, 15:19 by Uncle Pete »


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