<
>

Photographer suing memorabilia store for use of Odor-Bautista pic

The fight between Rougned Odor and Jose Bautista last May has triggered another fight, this time in the courtroom.

Rogelio Albert Pena, a Dallas-based photographer, filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday, alleging a picture he took of the fight was being sold by a memorabilia store in Dallas without his permission.

Pena's suit claims that a store called Field Of Dreams was selling the photo, even though he has the copyright to the shot he took. Pena said he personally noticed it and took a picture of the item for sale, for $19.99.

Mark Phillips, general manager of Celebrities Unlimited, which owns the store, acknowledged that he sells the photo along with "everyone else across the country."

"It's pretty much all over the place," Phillips said. "I'm not sure why he singled us out."

Phillips said he never heard from Pena or any representative that the photo was Pena's. As of Tuesday afternoon, Phillips said he hadn't even heard of the lawsuit.

"Ninety-five percent of the photos we sell are licensed through PhotoFile," Phillips said. "In some cases, there's a better photo of an event, and we'll sell that. In our 23 years, we've never been told that what we were selling was someone else's property."

Pena is asking for damages of up to $150,000 for "willful infringement" of the photograph, plus the store's profits from the photos.

Phillips said that $15 of the $20 cost is the framing and that the company has grossed "maybe" $4,000 from its sales.

This is not the first time a photographer has sued a memorabilia company and claimed unauthorized use for a photo taken. Over the past five years, Richard Noble has sued Nike, a T-shirt company and a memorabilia dealer for using his picture of Bo Jackson in pads and with a bat in his hand, taken in 1987.

Noble's aggressive protection of his rights led many memorabilia dealers to stop selling the item. Bo Jackson also did his part, refusing to sign the picture at autograph shows.