How does one get sued for posting a photo of themselves? Well, NBA superstar, LeBron James faces this exact lawsuit. According to Complex, veteran sports photographer, Steve Mitchell, is suing James for posting a photo he took during the Dec. 13 Lakers versus Heat game showcasing James’ high flying dunk over Heat center, Myers Leonard.
Richard Liebowitz, a New York copyright lawyer, filed the lawsuit on Mitchell’s behalf Monday claiming that James posted the photo on social media without Mitchell’s consent. Mitchell’s work has appeared in Sports Illustrated and ESPN and he frequently allows publications to use his work for a fee.
James often posts photos of himself in action to his social media accounts and has never run into copyright issues, but Mitchell and his attorney feel James has violated copyright laws by posting the photo.
According to Sports Illustrated:
“The defendants are accused of infringing’s Mitchell copyright by reproducing and publicly displaying the photograph without the photographer’s consent. Mitchell demands a jury trial to assess whether Section 501 of the federal Copyright Act was violated.”
To date, James has 62 million followers on Instagram where he posted the cropped photo taken by Mitchell on Dec. 14. The photo was also posted to James’ Facebook page. According to Sports Illustrated, the federal complaint filed by Liebowitz, lists James and Uninterrupted Digital Ventures and LRMR Ventures, the companies who operate James’ Facebook page, as defendants.
Sports Illustrated reports Mitchell is asking for up to $150,000 in damages per violation or damages that “would reflect profits, income, receipts, and other benefits derived by James and his co-defendants.”