We brought you news some months ago that Nike had filed a lawsuit against Sega of America for copyright infringement in Sega’s advert for NBA 2K2. By all accounts, the commercial was a carbon copy of Nike’s famous ‘Frozen Moment’ ad featuring the legendary Michael Jordan suspended in time, half way through completing one of his trademark slam-dunks.
On the first day of court proceedings, Sega bowed to Nike, issuing an apology and a cheque. Sega most likely rolled over so easily because its advertising agency, Leagas Delaney had, in the long-standing tradition of advertising creatives the world over, completely stolen the format, content and concept for the NBA 2K ad from Nike.
Sega issued the following statement:
"Nike has long been regarded as a visionary company, with marketing initiatives that continue to inspire athletes of all ages, skill levels and backgrounds. Sega of America has immense respect for Nike, and continues to regard Nike as a pillar of creative strength.
"Consequently, we deeply apologise for creating an ad that so closely resembled Nike's memorable ‘Frozen Moment’ ad, which understandably tarnished Nike's feelings towards Sega. In no way did Sega of America, or our advertising agency Leagas Delaney, intend to show any disrespect to the Nike brand or athletes with its advertisement for the Sega Sports NBA 2K2 video game. We sincerely hope that our companies may regain a positive professional relationship in the future."
By way of compensation, Sega agreed to pay $100,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Portland and Memphis, with each chapter to receive $50,000 each.
"We filed the lawsuit to serve notice that we will defend our copyrights and are pleased with how the matter has been settled." said Jim Carter, Nike General Counsel/USA. "We are pleased that the settlement will help Boys and Girls Clubs' programs, which support positive youth development."