A social media post could prove costly for LeBron James.
The NBA superstar is facing a $150,000 lawsuit for posting an image of himself dunking against the Miami Heat on Facebook and Instagram in December.
Professional photographer Steve Mitchell filed a federal lawsuit on March 17 against James and his businesses Uninterrupted Digital Ventures and LRMR Ventures, LLC, according to multiple reports.
“This is an action for copyright infringement under Section 501 of the Copyright Act,” the suit reads, per The Blast. “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. ...
“This is an action for copyright infringement under Section 501 of the Copyright Act.”
Mitchell is a photojournalist who makes his living licensing his images to media outlets for a fee. He took the photo that James published on his social media outlets following the Los Angeles Lakers’ 113-110 win over the Heat on Dec. 13.
While the image is of James, the rights to the photo are owned and controlled by Mitchell. He argues that James violated copyright protections by posting the image without permission.
James’ massive social media following
James has more than 62 million Instagram followers. The photo remains up on his page alongside a caption reading: “What.A.Time.To.Be.Alive and I’m LIVING with Pure Joy! Thank you.” The post has accrued more than 2.1 million likes.
The photo also remains published on James’ Facebook page. James has not publicly addressed the lawsuit.
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