In 2015, photographer Jacobus Rentmeester sued Nike for using an image he took for Life magazine back in 1984 as inspiration for another photo the sports brand commissioned for its own ads. Nike’s photograph was used across various marketing campaigns, from posters to billboards, and finally became the basis of the now famous “Jumpman” logo for the Jordan brand. Rentmeester claimed that Nike’s logo and photo infringed on his copyright.
The original Life magazine photo featured Michael Jordan in a similar pose as the “Jumpman”, who was preparing for the Summer Olympics in LA, and so was seen wearing the US team outfit, and wearing a pair of New Balance sneakers. The Nike photo was taken later when Jordan had already joined the Chicago Bulls in 1984, wearing the iconic red and black uniform and Nike.
Rentmeester argued that the distinctions between the two images were minor, and that all the original elements were copied by Nike. The lower courts ruled in favor of Nike, and the photographer appealed to the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court has now announced that they will be refusing to hear the case, rending the lower court rulings to stand for Nike.
In other sports news, Gronk has just announced his retirement from the NFL.