LeBron James and his companies, Uninterrupted Digital Ventures and LRMR Ventures, are being sued by a photographer for allegedly using a photo without permission or compensation.
James posted the image, taken by photographer Steven Mitchell, on James’ personal Facebook page without credit. Mitchell is seeking $150,000 for copyright infringement, according to The Blast.
“This is an action for copyright infringement under Section 501 of the Copyright Act,” Mitchell says in paperwork filed. “This action arises out of Defendant’s unauthorized reproduction and public display of a copyrighted photograph of NBA basketball player Lebron James during a basketball game against the Miami Heat, owned and registered by Mitchell, a professional photographer.”
Neither James nor representatives from his company have responded to the lawsuit.
The photographer explains he is in the business of licensing his photographs for money. He snapped James while playing a game with the Miami Heat. Mitchell accuses James of taking his photo and posting it on his official Facebook page. The post received 14,000 likes and 92 shares.
The suit claims James didn’t ask for permission or pay a dime to use the photo of himself. The suit reads, “Defendants did not license the Photograph from Plaintiff for its Website, nor did Defendants have Plaintiff’s permission or consent to publish the Photograph on its Website.”
Further, “Defendants infringed Plaintiff’s copyright in the Photograph by reproducing and publicly displaying the Photograph on the Website. Defendants are not, and has never been, licensed or otherwise authorized to reproduce, publically display, distribute and/or use the Photograph.”
LeBron isn’t the first celebrity to be sued for using a photographer’s photos on social media, actor Liam Hemsworth was sued recently for similar claims and Bella Hadid was hit with a federal lawsuit over an Instagram photo she used.
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