Landmark Case

Rentmeester v. Nike, Inc., 883 F.3d 1111 (9th Cir. 2018)

Authored by: Michelle Bogre , Nancy Wolff

The Routledge Companion to Copyright and Creativity in the 21st Century

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138999251
eBook ISBN: 9781315658445
Adobe ISBN:


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In 1984, a photographer named Jacobus Rentmeester instructed University of North Carolina basketball player Michael Jordan to perform a grand jeté, a ballet move in which the dancer leaps forward and extends her legs in opposite directions. Jordan executed the move, and the resulting photograph depicted the young athlete soaring toward a basketball hoop—‚Äčone foot pointed forward, the other back, with an outstretched hand palming a basketball, seemingly lifting him toward the basket. Shortly after Rentmeester’s photograph appeared in Life magazine, Nike got in touch with him to acquire color transparencies of the photo as the company had recently entered into a partnership with Jordan. Rentmeester was receptive and provided Nike with a limited license to use the transparencies solely for slide presentations.

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