RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – A Rio Rancho rock and roll photographer’s iconic picture of Bruce Springsteen and one of his band members is at the center of a new federal lawsuit against some big online retailers.
The story starts May 27, 1978, at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were on stage performing and James Shive was in the crowd taking pictures.
One particular photo shows legendary saxophonist Clarence “Big Man” Clemons playing in the foreground with an ecstatic-looking Springsteen behind. You can buy a print of it on Shive’s website for $200.
In 2011, after Clemons died following a stroke, Rolling Stone picked up the rights to use the photo in the magazine to honor him.
But according to a federal copyright infringement lawsuit, plenty of others have been selling Shive’s picture without paying.
Shive is suing Amazon, eBay, Wal-Mart and more claiming they were selling prints of that picture in various forms online.
KRQE News 13 spotted a version sold by New Jersey-based J&C Baseball Clubhouse with Shive’s picture of Clemons and Springsteen on a plaque. J&C Baseball Clubhouse is the listed vendor for other Springsteen photo plaques selling on Amazon for $19.99 plus shipping.
As of Tuesday evening, J&C Baseball Clubhouse had not responded to a request for comment.
“Mr. Shive was disappointed to see a photograph he took commercialized in the way it was without permission from him,” said Shive’s attorney Jeffrey Squires.
The lawsuit asks the companies to stop selling it and pay him damages, including what they made selling his image, “in an amount believed to be in excess of $50,000.”