Photographer sues LA Lakers player for cropping photo attribution
Los Angeles Lakers player Kendrick Nunn was sued for copyright infringement by the same photographer who recently settled a copyright infringement legal battle with Nunn’s superstar bandmate LeBron James.
Courtside photographer Steven Mitchell filed a lawsuit against James in 2020 after the NBA legend allegedly posted Mitchell’s photo to his Instagram and Facebook accounts without permission.
After nearly a year of litigation and after filing a counterclaim seeking at least $1 million, James settled with Mitchell last year.
On June 30, Mitchell filed a copyright court case against James’ Lakers teammate Nunn in Florida District Court.
The case stems from a photo Mitchell took of basketball player Nunn when he played for the Miami Heat on Sept. 30, 2019. Mitchell had been hired to photograph Heat players at the preseason event, reports Harmful conduct.
Mitchell licensed his sports photography primarily through Image Content Servicesa division of USA Today Media Network. However, the photographer alleges that Nunn obtained a photo of him that day and posted it on Facebook and Instagram without his permission. Mitchell claims that Nunn deliberately removed his explicit attribution and credit that accompanied the original image.
Nunn has over 277,000 followers on Instagram. He reportedly posted the image of Mitchell on October 24, 2019 with the caption, “And the real journey begins.”
Mitchell seeks $150,000 in statutory, punitive and actual damages, and an injunction to have the photo removed.
Several celebrities have faced copyright lawsuits from various photographers for the use of images of themselves. Last week, PetaPixel reported that singer Dua Lipa has been sued for a second time for sharing a photo on Instagram without paparazzo permission.
While some stars like Snoop Dogg think that photographers shouldn’t own the copyrights of their photographers.
When Mitchell sued James for copyright infringement, the NBA player initially disputed via court papers that he had the right to publish the photos as long as he didn’t commercially exploit Mitchell’s work. .
Sports Illustrated note that this is not how copyright works.
“The fact that James was prominently featured in Mitchell’s photo did not give him the right to publish it elsewhere. Mitchell owns his photos. This goes to the essence of copyright law: Absent a contractual relationship to the contrary, Mitchell owns copyright in his creative works, including his photos. Accordingly, Mitchell has the right to control the reproduction of his photos, such as their publication on social media sites. He can decide whether or not to license his photos and, if so, demand financial compensation for the licensing,” says Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann, who is also an attorney and director of Sports and Entertainment. Law Institute of New York University. Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law.
Picture credits: Header photo by All-Pro Reels and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0