LeBron James is being sued for posting a picture of himself.
Sports Illustrated's Michael McCann reported on Monday that New York copyright attorney Richard Liebowitz has filed a lawsuit against the NBA superstar on behalf of Steve Mitchell. Mitchell took a picture of James throwing down a dunk over Miami center Meyers Leonard during the Lakers' game against the Heat on Dec. 13. The next day, James posted a cropped version of the picture on his social media accounts.
"What.A.Time.To.Be.Alive and I’m LIVING with Pure Joy! Thank you 🏀," James captioned the photo. "P.S. Miami always love y’all! ❤️. Great win last night Gang Gang."
James posts photos taken from in-game action to his social media accounts very frequently throughout the season. While some photographers use this exposure to their advantage, Mitchell decided to file a lawsuit against James, claiming that James and his camp infringed on his copyright by posting the image.
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.
Mitchell and his attorneys are arguing that just because James is the focus of the photo, it doesn't give him permission to publish it on other mediums. As the owner of the photo, Mitchell is convinced that this violated the multiple copyrights he has on the image because no contractual agreement was created between himself, LeBron James, and/or the Lakers. As a result, Mitchell is seeking 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."