Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is facing a copyright lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Florida by a photographer who alleges unauthorized use of photos he took during Jackson’s college career at the University of Louisville.
Photographer Richard H. Barnes Jr. alleges that Jackson, “or someone acting at his direction,” sold merchandise including apparel, backpacks, smartphone accessories, kitchen accessories, and/or other merchandise that include one of Barnes’ photos depicting Jackson “through at least” Apparel.com.
The complaint also alleges that Jackson retained co-defendant Ronald Dupont, owner of Stacks Jewelry in Miami, to create a “sculptural version” of one of the photos and that Stacks Jewelry then posted photos of the unauthorized jewelry on its Instagram page.
Barnes also asserts that Jackson has posted his photos without authorization on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and that a YouTube video shows Jackson “wearing a clothing article displaying and using an unauthorized derivative work that displays and uses” one of Barnes’ photos.
The five photos at issue were taken on Sept. 9, 2016, during a game between the University of Louisville and Syracuse University, according to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Jackson won the Heisman Trophy in 2016 and was named All-American in his sophomore year. The Ravens selected him in the 2018 draft, and he took over as quarterback that year after Joe Flacco was injured. He was named unanimous NFL MVP in 2019, the year in which he broke the record for the most rushing yards in a season by a quarterback.
Causes of Action: Copyright Act, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Relief: Damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.
Response: Neither Jackson nor Dupont responded to requests for comment.
Attorneys: Jacobson Law PA represents Barnes.
The case is Barnes v. Jackson, S.D. Fla., No. 21-cv-80722, 4/15/21.