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Tim Duncan Settles Lawsuit Over Use Of His Image By San Antonio Real Estate Company

tim duncan 1005 faces

Tim Duncan 1005 Faces

SAN ANTONIO — Retired Spurs forward Tim Duncan has settled a lawsuit over an altered photograph showing him as an unpaid pitchman for a real estate agent with Keller Williams in Texas.

Agent Robert Elder, who was the agent that repurposed a Duncan photo for the Realtor’s professional Facebook page, has resigned from Keller Williams in the wake of the fiasco.

In an email, Keller Williams spokeswoman Sarah Marshall said the incident “was a very unfortunate situation and no disrespect or harm was intended by the agent’s actions. In fact, the agent is a huge fan of Mr. Duncan.

 “We worked closely with Mr. Duncan’s legal team to resolve the matter in a quick and professional manner and the suit has now been settled,” Marshall said, adding that the firm takes responsibility for the “unfortunate misuse of Mr. Duncan’s image.”
Elder joined Bradfield Properties Inc. on Thursday, according to the Texas Real Estate Commission’s website. He declined to comment when reached by phone Monday.

Duncan’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the case Monday in Bexar County District Court. One of his lawyers, Michael Bernard, confirmed the settlement.

“I think the issue is over,” Bernard said. Elder’s “apologized for his actions, and I think we’re satisfied and moving on.”

The photograph in question won’t be appearing on real estate agent Robert Elder’s professional Facebook page again, Bernard said a nominal amount was paid under the settlement to cover Duncan’s legal expenses.

For a short time following Duncan’s retirement announcement on July 11, a picture of him holding a framed sign featuring Elder’s logo and web address was posted to the agent’s professional Facebook page.

Duncan, though, never agreed to be photographed holding the sign or to endorse Elder.

On July 15, Duncan sued Keller Williams, Elder and others for misappropriation of the hoop star’s name and image.

The lawsuit alleged that the defendants altered an image of Duncan taken by San Antonio photographer Sara Brooke Lyons for her “1005 Faces” project, which featured subjects in black-and-white photographs holding placards with a short personal message.

Duncan participated in the project, holding a handwritten message that said, “Good, Better, Best. Never let it rest until your good is better and your better is your best.”

The altered version of the photograph was posted to Elder’s professional Facebook page at 11:21 a.m. on July 13.

A caption that appeared with the photograph said, “Wow! Just WOW! TD took the time to give us some love! Thanks Tim! We love you too man!”

The photograph was subsequently removed after Duncan’s representatives asked that it be taken down.

The Facebook account was temporarily suspended. Before the page, which has more than 4,100 followers, was suspended, it also showed pictures of actors Eva LongoriaMark Wahlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson each holding a sign with the agent’s logo and phone number. They appear to have been removed since then.

Duncan’s efforts to protect his image earned kudos from Lyons.

“Thanks for having my back Tim!” she wrote on her Facebook page after the suit was filed. “I know he’s got more important things going on. What an incredible guy to be willing to fight for image rights; a battle photographers are constantly at odds with.”

Duncan’s lawsuit sought unspecified financial damages from the defendants.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region since 1989. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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