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Photographer wins attorneys’ fees from indoor football team

A federal judge has awarded more than $21,000 in attorneys’ fees to the former team photographer of the Baltimore Mariners in his copyright infringement lawsuit against the indoor football team.

U.S. District Court Judge George L. Russell III’s order Monday came six weeks after he granted Edward Brian Schneider a $450,000 default judgment against CG Sports Management LLC, the company that owns the team.

Schneider was hired as the team’s photographer prior to the 2014 season but was “never paid single a dime” for his work, according to his lawsuit, filed in August. Schneider’s contract gave photo reproduction rights to the team only after he was paid in full, according to the lawsuit.

Schneider took headshots of the players and coaches and photos of games, community events and cheerleaders “for the purpose of creating a calendar,” the lawsuit states. He sought $150,000, the maximum allowed under the federal Copyright Act, for each of three photos taken during a Mariners’ game in May that were used on the team’s website and social media.

Several cease and desist letters sent to CG in June were not returned, according to court filings. The Baltimore Mariners won the American Indoor Football championship last year but are not members of the league for the upcoming season, which begins next week.

The lawsuit also alleges that, “to make matters worse,” Mariners’ owner Thomas Conserette, Sr. used one of Schneider’s photos as his profile picture on LinkedIn.

Schneider, a Baltimore-based professional sports photographer, was represented by lawyers from Astrachan Gunst Thomas PC in Baltimore. Court records list no attorney for C&G.

The case is Schneider v. Conserette et al, 1:14-cv-02591-GLR.