Mötley Crüe is being sued over a sweatshirt ... and it all stems from an iconic photo taken way back in 1981.
The Crüe and Live Nation are being sued by Ron Toma who claims he owns the copyright to the famous "belt buckle photo" .... taken by photog Michael Pinter back in 1981. The band used the photo on the cover of their hit album "Too Fast for Love."
But according to Toma's lawsuit, filed in Illinois Northern District Court, Crüe and Live Nation stole the image without permission and used it on some signature hoodies they're selling on their websites.
Toma is asking a judge to step in ASAP to administer some justice -- blocking MC and Live Nation from using the image without permission. Calls to Mötley Crüe weren't returned.