Our story starts with Geno Smith, the then-quarterback for the New York Jets, getting punched in the jaw by a teammate, as most good stories about copyright law do. It was an injury that sidelined him for the start of the 2015 NFL season. Two days after Smith's surgery, a photojournalist named Angel Chevrestt spotted the quarterback standing outside his apartment, tossing a football to a friend. Chevrestt took some pictures and licensed them to the New York Post, where they ran alongside an article titled "Big Mouth! Geno Emerges for First Time Post-Sucker Punch Surgery."

Later that day, a CBS website ran its own story about Smith's emergence and used Chevrestt's photographs as accompanying art. The problem, according to Chevrestt, was that CBS had neither licensed his pictures, obtained his permission to display them, nor credited him as the photographer. On Jan. 23, 2016, Chevrestt sued CBS Broadcasting Inc., CBS Radio Inc., and Sterling Entertainment Enterprises LLC (which also aired his photos in a rebroadcast of the game) in federal court. He asked the court to award him an amount equivalent to actual damages and the defendants' profits as a result of the alleged infringement—amounts that can be difficult to prove—or, alternatively, statutory damages of up to $150,000 per work infringed. Chevrestt had two attorneys in the case, one of whom was Richard Liebowitz of the Liebowitz Law Firm.

Since the lawsuit was filed, Richard Liebowitz has become the scourge of the media industry, the shame of many in the copyright bar, and the salvation of the underpaid photographer. Liebowitz sues regardless of whether the original photograph would have licensed for $12, $1,200, or $1.20. He sues media companies of all sizes and in all seasons. Soon after Liebowitz appeared on the scene, Ballard Spahr attorney Robert Penchina, who has represented several media companies sued by Liebowitz, had a mini-stroke. "I half-jokingly blamed it on Richard. Sort of just dealing with him made me nuts," Penchina said. "I told that to him at the time. I said, 'Richard, you're a nice enough guy, but you made me sick'."

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