The U.S. Supreme Courtroom is not going to hear Jacobus ‘Co’ Willem Rentmeester‘s copyright case involving the Nike ‘Jumpman’ brand, the excessive court docket has introduced. The explanation for the court docket’s choice stays unclear, nevertheless it leaves in place the 2018 ruling by an appeals court docket that discovered Nike hadn’t infringed upon Rentmeester’s picture copyright with its iconic ‘Jumpman’ brand.

The authorized matter started in 2015 when Rentmeester filed a copyright lawsuit towards Nike over its ‘Jumpman’ brand that includes a silhouette of athlete Michael Jordan. The emblem was based mostly on a picture of Michael Jordan produced by Nike in 1985, which was itself allegedly based mostly on a picture Rentmeester took of Jordan as a freelancer for Time Journal. The 2 photographs, whereas expressing the identical thought, are completely different.

Nike had initially paid Rentmeester $150 to license two of his 35mm transparencies that includes Jordan. Following that, the corporate paid Rentmeester $15,000 for a two-year license to make use of its personal picture based mostly on the one Rentmeester took after he threatened litigation. In 1987, Nike then created the Jumpan silhouette brand based mostly on its Michael Jordan picture and it has used that brand within the years since.

Rentmeester’s January 2015 copyright infringement lawsuit was rejected by a federal court docket in Portland, Oregon, in June 2015. In keeping with that court docket, Nike’s picture introduced a unique expression of the thought behind the 2 photographs and copyright regulation solely protects the expression of concepts.

The authorized spat went to an appeals court docket, which dominated in 2018 that Nike’s picture did not infringe upon the protected expression in Rentmeester’s picture. The appeals court docket acknowledged that the topic’s pose can’t be copyrighted, which might stop different photographers from taking photographs of the individual placing the identical pose. Components like shutter velocity, digital camera angle, and timing all contribute to the expression of the thought in Rentmeester’s picture, the court docket stated.


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