Bruce Willis Sports-Betting Flop 'Lay the Favorite' Sparks Lawsuit Over Map

An Austin-based mapmaker is suing Amazon and Netflix for distributing the 2012 film because it shows his work without permission.
Frank Masi/The Weinstein Company/Photofest
'Lay the Favorite' (2012)

Lay the Favorite, the 2012 Bruce Willis-led film about sports betting that grossed less than $21,000 at the domestic box office, has sparked a lawsuit against Amazon and Netflix from an Austin-based mapmaker who says his copyrighted work was shown in the background without permission.

Victor Baker creates and sells "antique-style, watercolor maps" of locations around the globe that are typically sold to tourists who visit those areas, according to the complaint filed Thursday in Texas federal court. He is suing the streamers and Random House Films because his map of the Caribbean island of Curacao was shown on the wall of an office in the background of the movie.

Lay the Favorite, which also starred Vince Vaughn and Catherine Zeta-Jones, was partially set in Curacao, where the characters set up shop to avoid U.S. gambling laws. Baker argues his map "plays a significant role in the movie" by reinforcing the setting and Random House should have known he owned the copyright in the map because his contact information is listed on its bottom-left corner — and is even visible in still images of the film.

Baker is seeking up to $150,000 in statutory damages or, alternatively, the fair-market license fee for the map and is asking the court to stop defendants from distributing the film with the scenes that show his work.

The Hollywood Reporter's review of Lay the Favorite compared it to "a loud guest at a party who’s amusing for a while, until you just have to escape to the next room."