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LeBron James facing copyright lawsuit over cropped photograph

Lakers, LeBron James

Los Angeles Lakers superstar small forward LeBron James is facing a copyright lawsuit over a cropped photograph of one of his dunks.

Per Sports Illustrated’s Michael McCann, New York copyright attorney Richard Liebowitz has filed a federal complaint on behalf of Steve Mitchell, who took a picture of LeBron dunking the ball over Miami Heat big man Meyers Leonard in a game between the Lakers and Heat in South Beach back in December.

James posted a cropped version of the photo on his Facebook page, and now the Lakers star is facing a lawsuit:

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. He seeks 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. Judge Ronnie Abrams, a former federal prosecutor and adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, is presiding over the litigation.

The NBA suspended the season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. Lakers players were tested as well after getting exposed to the virus in their last game against the Brooklyn Nets.

Two players on the Lakers have tested positive for COVID-19. Both players are currently asymptomatic, in quarantine and under the care of the team’s physician.

This lawsuit is certainly not the news LeBron or the Lakers anticipated coming up on Monday, and yet here we are. James’ team will likely handle this situation.

LeBron and the Lakers had the best record in the Western Conference standings before play was suspended. James was averaging 25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 10.6 assists in 60 games for the Lakers.