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Jordan Dunking Rentmeester Main Shot
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Photographer Unsuccessful in Copyright Dispute Against Nike Over Jordan Image

Date: March 27 2019

By: Boon Mark Souphanh

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Photographer Jacobus Rentmeester has been unsuccessful in his lawsuit against Nike, as the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled it won’t step in to referee a copyright dispute over an iconic image of Michael Jordan.

Rentmeester sued Nike for using an image he took of MJ in the 1980s, which the latter used as inspiration for its own ad campaigns. Nike’s photo would eventually go on to inspire the now famed ‘Jumpman’ logo.

While a lower court ruling had concluded that the pose/angles in the photos were protectable, since the idea of Jordan dunking was not, Nike’s images would have had to be ‘virtually identical’ to Rentmeester’s to have a case.

Rentmeester initially argued that the differences between his photo and Nike’s were ‘minor’, and that nearly every element in his photo appeared to be similar.

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