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Brady sketch artist seeks to halt unauthorized use of image

A courtroom sketch of Tom Brady drew attention during the Deflategate hearings.Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

When courtroom artist Jane Rosenberg received a text message Friday showing a T-shirt with her sketch of Tom Brady hanging in a store window in Newton, she knew it was time to call a lawyer.

Rosenberg said Tuesday her lawyer has already sent out at least four cease-and-desist orders since she discovered companies have been cashing in by placing her picture of Brady on mugs, shirts, smartphone covers, and even onesies for babies.

“I was very surprised. I went online and Googled ‘Tom Brady sketch T-shirts,’ and a whole bunch of stuff came up that I had no clue there was,” Rosenberg said. “I had to do something about it.”


Rosenberg said businesses attempting to profit from her sketch had until noon Tuesday to remove items from their websites and store shelves.

“And if they don’t, it’s the next step,” she said, which could mean legal action. “I think it’s very dishonest for someone to sell T-shirts with my artwork. It’s too blatant. It’s a crime, and it’s just not OK. It’s my art, and someone else is making money on it without my consent.”

Rosenberg last month was flooded by a barrage of unwanted Internet fame after the drawing of Brady sitting in court during the Deflategate hearings went viral. People said it looked nothing like the photogenic quarterback.

The image was featured in humorous memes and became a running joke on social media as the Deflategate controversy played out in court.

Rosenberg got a chance to redeem herself and created a second sketch in the days following her first blunder. But some said the second sketch looked more like Governor Charlie Baker and actor Matt Damon than the quarterback beloved by New Englanders.

A federal judge last week dropped the four-game suspension sought by the National Football League against Brady for the Deflategate debacle.


Rosenberg, who lives in New York, owns the rights to the sketch. She hasn’t yet decided what to do with the original but told the Globe last month she has received multiple requests from people looking to purchase the drawing.

“I have no plans at the moment about what I’m going to do with it. I’m overwhelmed still, and it just keeps snowballing,” she said Tuesday.

Courtroom sketch artist Jane Rosenberg was surrounded by the media outside of a federal courthouse in New York after one of the hearings.Larry Neumeister/Associated Press/File

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.