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Lawsuit over Odor-Bautista Punch Has Unintended Consequence

The photog sued a company for copyright infringement, but the photo is included in the suit, which is publicly available.

by Sean Newell
Mar 14 2017, 9:20pm

Rougned Odor jacking up Jose Bautista's face is the gift that keeps on giving. It's been almost a full year since the Rangers and Blue Jays brawled after Bautista's hard slide into second, but it still feels just like yesterday. The fans on both sides are not letting it go, and we've got GIFs and videos and, yes, even regular old photographs to commemorate the shot heard 'round the world for the 21st century. One particular photograph of the punch has served as the basis of a federal lawsuit, and it is not unlike Bautista initiating Odor and swiftly getting dropped.

According to Forbes, Rogelio Albert Pena is the photographer of the picture in dispute, and he has sued a company he says ripped off the photo and has been selling it out of a memorabilia shop in Dallas. This has not been an uncommon occurrence with this specific incident, as Richard Rodriguez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has complained of similar infringement of his slightly different version of the punch. Pena, however, took it to court.

"While shopping at a Field of Dreams store in Dallas, Texas, Pena came across 12 copies of the Photograph, framed with the description "Rougned Odor: Don't Mess With Texas II," states the Complaint. "The Photograph was priced for sale at $19.99 . . . The Photograph, as sold in Defendant's store, did not contain any information identifying Plaintiff as the author."

Here's the thing: Forbes has a picture of the very picture at the heart of the matter on its website right now. And it does not credit Rogelio Albert Pena. Do you know what was credited? The lawsuit, because the picture is part of the public record of the case.

Oops.

Seriously, though, if true, the Field of Dreams store was doing a shitty thing, and Pena should be reimbursed for having his intellectual property co-opted. He could be looking at a million-dollar payday.

If you're a sports blogger, though, and don't have access to a photo wire service, just head down to court, request the court file, and make a copy. The system works.