NewsDetroit Lions in Legal Battle Over Barry Sanders Statue

Detroit Lions in Legal Battle Over Barry Sanders Statue

Detroit Lions in Legal Battle Over Barry Sanders Statue
Images source: © GETTY | Brian Bahr

11:55 AM EST, January 17, 2024

The Detroit Lions are embroiled in a legal battle as renowned photographer Allen Kee has filed a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement. Kee claims that the Lions used his photograph of the legendary running back Barry Sanders, taken in 1995, to create an 8-foot bronze statue without his permission.

Kee's lawsuit, filed in a New York federal court, accuses the Detroit Lions, the National Football League (NFL), Getty Images, and several retailers, including Fanatics and Dick’s Sporting Goods, of using his iconic photo as a reference for the statue, which was unveiled in September 2023. The evidence includes a screenshot from a video showing the statue's creation, where Kee's photograph is visible as a reference.

This case highlights the complexities of intellectual property rights in the context of artistic recreations. The outcome of this lawsuit could set a significant precedent in how photographs are used for creating three-dimensional art, especially when it involves public figures and widely recognized sports icons like Barry Sanders.

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