Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Baseball Appeal; MLB Still Doesn't Get To Own Facts

from the good-news dept

Good news from the Supreme Court this week, as it has decided not to take up Major League Baseball's appeal over the question of whether it gets to "own" player names and stats. As you may recall, Major League Baseball had created a lucrative side business for itself "licensing" out player names and stats to fantasy baseball providers. This actually made them quite a bit of money, until one of those fantasy baseball companies put two and two together and realized that player names and statistics are public information and not subject to copyright (you can't copyright "facts"). MLB flipped out at the possibility of losing this revenue stream and sued, claiming ownership of all game data.

As MLB realized that claiming ownership of game data was never going to cut it in court, it changed the story somewhat, saying that it was really about the players' right of publicity, which also (somehow) included owning their stats. A district court quickly saw through this argument and told MLB that it had no case. Rather than admitting defeat (and recognizing that more widespread use of baseball info should bring more fans into the game), MLB appealed. The appeals court wasted little time in again telling MLB it had no case. But those folks at MLB are nothing if not stubborn. So, they asked the full appeals court to rehear the case and were turned down

So, again, rather than recognizing that perhaps all of these courts (and common sense) had a point, MLB appealed to the Supreme Court, who (as noted) turned them down. If you're keeping score at home (and, we're not claiming ownership of the score), that now makes 4 - 0 for the courts over MLB, and I think we've pretty much hit the 9th inning, as there are no more appeals. The only thing MLB can hope for now is for a different circuit to somehow (unlikely) come to a different conclusion and the Supreme Court to revisit the issue. But that seems about as likely as, say, the Seattle Mariners somehow coming back to win the World Series this year. Stranger things have happened, but not very often.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Cynic, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 6:20pm

    I was once dragged to a baseball game by a vendor trying to impress me. Personally I'd rather watch paint dry.

    But getting back on topic, it sounds like MLB is living in a fantasy world. Does the number of times a movie star attends an annual event with or without a date amount to that star's right of publicity? So the actor is supposed to say: "How dare you mention what I do in public...you have to buy that from me...even if you and everyone else sees me do it!!!" What a crock. And what lunatics the MLB folks must be for thinking any court at all would follow that line of reasoning (and calling it reasoning is being way too kind).

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Nelson, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 6:57pm

    Tunes harmonica ...

    "Ha Ha"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:00pm

    Sounds like it's almost time to boycott baseball again, lets see how much they loose from that and see whom they try to sue.

    Magusyk

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Alan, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:47pm

    Since they seem to have a little trouble recognizing a home run, the strike zone, or the effcts of drug use, maybe they should concentrate on these things first. I know I'd sleep better through the night (games) if they did.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 9:05pm

    Baseball?

    Who won Game 5 of Detroit/Pens?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 9:48pm

    It's still going on.

    I don't get it though. The MLB is saying "We're looking at our next options." What is their next option? Appealing to God?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 12:32am

    Re:

    Well that won't work, God's a hockey fan.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Thomas, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 4:54am

    Next Option

    The next option is, of course, to appeal to (I mean pay) congress to pass a law in their favor. All they need to do is cough up enough money to the right senators/reps.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 5:42am

    Re: Re:

    Rofl

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 6:16am

    Re Several Points

    Mike M: "(and, we're not claiming ownership of the score)"

    lol, awesome.

    AC #7: "Well that won't work, God's a hockey fan."

    Also lol. I am loving the humor in this thread.

    Re #8 Thomas
    That will probably work. Just look at the Canadian DMCA a couple blog posts down. It is working for them. And we know it works here as well. $$ = laws passed by bribed "representatives"

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Eliot, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re:

    Haha.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Nasch, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 7:58am

    Not the courts...

    It's not 4-0 in favor of the courts over MLB, it's 4-0 in favor of the fantasy baseball league. But I guess as long as MLB is on the zero side maybe I shouldn't pick nits.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    John Wilson, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 7:59am

    Re: Baseball?

    Pens...3rd overtime period. :-)

    ttfn

    John

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    James, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 8:07am

    I agree w/Stephen Colbert

    The media should give MLB what they want and never mention them again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 8:11am

    Bit of a nitpick here, but the fantasy baseball site actually brought MLB to court first, seeking a declaratory judgment. Basically, they were pretty sure they were going to get sued over this, so they decided to sue first, asking a court to rule that what they were doing wasn't against the law. While it's still David v Goliath no matter who sued first, I think the site should definitely be given credit for being aggressive in themselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Baseball Handicappers, Feb 15th, 2009 @ 12:30am

    Baseball Picks

    There was no need for the law to get involved and the judgement was 100% correct.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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