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LeBron James Sues Courtside Photographer For $1 Million

(via Hoops Habit)

(via Hoops Habit)

Being the face of NBA basketball certainly has a lot of perks, but it's not always sunshine and rainbows. Often, the brightest spotlights come with increased attention and accountability -- both good and bad.

In this case, James if finding himself engaged in a court battle involving one of his posts on Instagram.

Back in March, photographer Steven Mitchell sued the Lakers star for posting photos taken by the photographer on his personal Instagram page. The photos were eventually taken down, but it didn't take long before a countersuit was filed, with James and his team contending that it is the photographer who illegally used the images.

(via The Athletic)

James’ lawsuit with photographer Steven Mitchell is getting pointed, with James countersuing and recently asking for at least $1 million and attorney fees from the shutterbug. James and his business concerns, LRMR Ventures and Uninterrupted Digital Ventures, are named in each case.

Mitchell sued James in March for the player posting on his social media feeds photos taken by the photographer during a game. James, who took them down, in court filings contends he is entitled to use them if he is not commercially exploiting the snaps. He then countersued Mitchell in August, arguing it is the photographer who illegally used the images on his own website as a way of promoting his photo agency.

Per the CBA, photographers can use their photos in publications, but not for other commercial ventures, and LeBron's team is suing because he believes the photographer is trying to promote his own business.

According to one expert, the case can really go both ways -- depending on what the judge ultimately decides the photos were being used for.

“If the photographer was using it in advertising for his services then it would be a problem under California’s right to publicity law,” copyright attorney Josh Gerben said. “If the photographer was using it for a news purpose, then I think LeBron’s claims would not work.”

In a comment, the judge recommended both sides just work this out -- suggesting this whole ordeal isn't really worth all the effort for either party.

“My advice to both sides is … you guys should get together and resolve the case,” Wu said, finishing his thought with a slight chuckle. “You know, I understand the arguments that are being made by both sides, but frankly, you know, but what can one say. But I will take the motion … and consider it and get out a final decision one way or the other, hopefully within the next week.”

We can expect a decision sometime soon, and it'll be interesting to see who wins the case. But for LeBron, it's obviously a distraction he doesn't need right now -- not with the NBA season officially underway.