Turns Out Major League Baseball Doesn't Own Stats, After All
from the strikeout dept
Richard was kind enough to submit that the federal court hearing the case has sided with the fantasy league, saying they can continue to use the names and stats, since they're in the public domain and there is no violation of the right of publicity. The court noted that there is no indication that CBC is using the names and stats to suggest these players "endorse" or are associated with the fantasy league. Also, there's no commercial harm to the players. As the court notes, if anything, "this case actually enhances the marketability of the players." The court notes that, even if the right of publicity were violated, the First Amendment would protect the use of this data, because it is "historical fact," and just because CBC makes money on their service, it does not take away their First Amendment rights. Finally, the court also notes (once again) the point that facts are not copyrightable. In other words, MLB lost this case on every single argument. What will be interesting is to see the fallout from this decision. Will other fantasy leagues stop paying as well? Also, baseball (and other sports) have made a lucrative practice out of licensing such information to video game makers as well -- and it seems likely this ruling would apply to them as well. Of course, if MLB were smart, they would view this as a good thing. Getting more real info about real players out there in fantasy and video games should lead to more fans and more interest in the overall sport -- leading to many more opportunities to make money.