Can A Radio Station Give Away Tickets To A Football Game? The Eagles Say No...

from the right-of-first-sale dept

We've noted the trend of trying to cut down on scalping by using e-tickets to stop the transfer of tickets, but it appears that the Philadelphia Eagles football team also is trying to stop radio stations from doing promotional giveaways. The team has sued the owner of the radio station, saying that the terms on the back of the ticket forbid the use of the tickets for commercial purposes -- such as contests -- and also that the station is violating the Eagles' trademarks in naming them around the ticket giveaway promotion. This raises a bunch of questions about the right of first sale on a ticket. While the stadium may have the right to forbid entry to anyone, it seems like that would be a dumb move on the team's part. My guess is that the team's main concern is that it only wants partner (i.e., those who paid a ton for broadcast rights) radio stations to give away tickets -- but that doesn't mean there's a legal right there. If the tickets were legitimately bought, why shouldn't the station be able to sell them or give them away? And, considering that the radio station was accurately describing the team when using the name, that shouldn't be a trademark violation.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Steve R. (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 5:09am

    You Bought it You Own It

    As Mike correctly notes, when you own something you have a "right of first sale". The sellers of merchandise to not have a right to deny you, post sale, the use of your property. When you buy something you acquire a property right to the use of that product.

     

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  2.  
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    EdT, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 5:13am

    Eagles tickets...

    yup, the question is "If the tickets were legitimately bought, why shouldn't the station be able to sell them or give them away?" underscore "if", we don't know because the author didn't investigate... the rest of the article is hyperbole...

     

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  3.  
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    Richard (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 5:33am

    Re: Eagles tickets...

    yup, the question is "If the tickets were legitimately bought, why shouldn't the station be able to sell them or give them away?" underscore "if", we don't know because the author didn't investigate... the rest of the article is hyperbole...

    Cobblers!

    There is no suggestion in the Eagles' complaint that the tickets were not bought legitimately.

     

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  4.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 5:34am

    Re: Eagles tickets...

    So you automatically assume that the tickets were stolen? I think we may want proof before we start accusing people of theft.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 5:38am

    Of course it's amusing that all the google ads are for Eagles tickets and gear.

    Why are companies so bipolar about advertising?

    "I'll give you a dollar for that candy."

    "You can have it for free."

    "No! You have to pay me to take it!"

     

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  6.  
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    MBraedley (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 5:38am

    Re: Eagles tickets...

    Are you suggesting that a radio station would furnish stolen or otherwise illegally acquired merchandise for a contest? I realize it's not unheard of, but enough people can get in enough shit for it that I highly doubt it happens all that often, especially for items worth more than a couple hundred dollars, which is probably the lower limit for the cost of these tickets.

     

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  7.  
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    Nfnitloop (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 6:07am

    You might have legally purchased the piece of paper

    But the ticket, not unlike software, states on the back that it is a license to view the game and there are all sorts of other terms about not sharing any details of the event including taking pictures, recordings, etc.
    Under all the legalese though (at least on my tickets) is usually a coupon to some fast food joint that I can use after the game. That makes up for it...

     

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  8.  
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    Vincent Clement, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 6:07am

    Ever notice that when a company or organization says someone is violating their trademark or intellectual property, that someone is usually promoting the company or organization in a positive way?

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 6:08am

    Re: Eagles tickets...

    obvious troll is obvious.

     

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  10.  
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    A Dan (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 6:14am

    Re:

    I'm not sure that's accurate. The stories that Techdirt considers worth fostering conversations are the possible abuses. I don't think this site is intended to be representative of all "Intellectual Property" lawsuits.

     

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  11.  
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    Skippy T. Mut, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 6:15am

    Who care...

    The Eagles suck anyway!

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 6:16am

    Re: Eagles tickets...

    "we don't know because the author didn't investigate..."

    Thats why he said "if" and not "because".

     

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  13.  
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    JustMe, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 6:17am

    Devil's Advocate

    I think the Eagles are in the wrong, but here is an interesting theory taken from the software industry...

    What if they aren't selling you a ticket? When if they are renting you a seat at a game and the ticket is proof of your completed rental agreement?

    Also, don't tickets usually have a bunch of legally questionable cruft on the back of them? Why not use a pen and mark it up. If the ticket taker doesn't object then you have new terms of use.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Howard, Cowering, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 6:17am

    Somebody, please, ask a lawyer

    Is the legalese on the back of a ticket you do not receive posession of, and therefore cannot read, until after you have paid for it a valid contract?
    Is this akin to the shrink-wrap "agreement" on software?
    Can I attach a label to my cradit (or debit) card saying acceptance of this card as payment renders all other restrictions related to the sale and use of the item null and void, and have any hope of it being upheld in a court of law?

     

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  15.  
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    Overcast (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 6:31am

    This is full of Fail.

     

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  16.  
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    thomas, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 6:39am

    One would think...

    That the Eagles want people to go to their games. Apparently they don't want people interested in their team or coming to the games. I thought sports teams wanted promotion? Legal questions aside, it sounds like they simply hate fans.

     

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  17.  
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    Doug Vannoni (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 6:45am

    Will It Even Get To Court?

    Wow, some good legal minds here. I wonder if it'll ever get argued?

    I worked at a local NYC tv station & once we made the mistake of including NY Mets tickets in a contest. the Mets, the MLB & a gang of lawyers attacked claiming all the things that Eagles have claimed.

    At the end of the day, it wasn't the legal pressure that got us to fold, it was the threat of limiting our access to the team. As a news station, that would have been death for our sports dept. In most cases when media entities run afoul of major league anything, it's access that the teams use as leverage before lawsuits.

    So aside from a bunch of crappy oldies & pop stations on the Jersey shore, does the NFL have any access leverage with which to pressure Equity Communications, LP. Guess we'll find out.

     

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  18.  
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    known coward, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 6:47am

    It is the eagles

    Of course they misunderstand that ticket giveaways for eagles tickets help promote the team even if they did not get paid for allowing someone to promote them.

    Ticket giveaway's to eagles game should be banned. Actually the eagles should be banned but that is not the topic of this thread.

     

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  19.  
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    JB, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 7:21am

    Commercial Purposes

    The issue is not the giving away of the tickets. The issue is that the radio station is using the name of the Philaelphia Eagles to make money for the radio station.

    The back of the ticket says that it "may not be used for advertising, promotion, or other commercial purposes (including contests, sweepstakes, and giveaways)" without express written consent.

    You can do whatever you want with the ticket, including give it away, as long as you do not use it to promote or make money for your business.

    By the way, as far as the "own vs. license" argument, the back of the ticket claims that "This ticket is a revocable license and may be revoked at the sole discretion of the [team] by refunding the price of the ticket."

     

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  20.  
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    shanese, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 7:24am

    i think the whole thing is a big waste of time because the team she be glad that the radio station is trying to prompte them they must be sorry if they have to have a radio station force the tickets on people

     

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  21.  
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    AC, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 7:25am

    first sale doctrine

    If the ticket in question were a season ticket, that "renting a seat" idea might apply, but if it's a box office ticket, the "license" *should* transfer with the ticket.

    I'm hoping the decisions in Vernor vs. Autodesk that address first sale will be applied to more than just software. It seems like the kind of crap that the Eagles are trying to pull here would fit in that category.

    It's just my opinion, but calling a "sale" a "license" doesn't change the nature of the transaction.

     

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  22.  
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    Promotional Advisor, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 7:47am

    The Eagles Have It...

    Well if that is the case, they should not be able to sell the tickets, due to promotion of their games. The radio station does not make money on giveaways, they make people happy to be part of the community.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Greg, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 7:48am

    Re: Who care...

    Yea, who cares, it's the Eagles.. They're behaving like their fans that throw rock/battery -laden snowballs at opposing teams' players and/or fans.

     

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  24.  
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    Shawn (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 7:57am

    I do not know if this is the case here but ... If Radio Station A has ponied up 3/4 of a gazillion dollars to be ' The Official Radio Station' of the Iggles and part of that agreement between Radio station A and the Iggles is the exclusive right to use ticket giveaways as a promotion I could see Station A getting very grumpy and asking the Iggles to stomp on Station B when they are using Iggles tickets as a promotion.
    Which would probably end up in Station B trying to get around it by giving away tickets to 'the big game sunday' and not mentioning the Iggles at all.

     

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  25.  
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    Richard (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 8:09am

    Rights that don't really exist

    Once again we see an attempt to conjure into existence a "right" that doesn't really exist in law.

    Would they complain if someone donated a couple of tickets as a prize in a local charity raffle?

    Would it depend if they "approved" of the charity?

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 8:13am

    Wasn't it the NFL who tried to trademark "The Big Game" ?

     

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  27.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 8:21am

    It's the frakin' Eagles!

    Everyone knows you can't give Eagles ticket away...

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Martin, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 8:35am

    "EAGLES" = "GREED"

    Greed driven franchises will drive their fans and supporters away as a result.

    Any of the reasons mentioned here or by Eagles are not a reason for this hostile behavior. If I shloud watch for a lawyer on the bench behind me making notes, I would prefer to find some other amusement than a stadium visit.
    Radio station mentioned here is in abusive relationship with the Eagles.

    You folks dont realise it, but me coming to U.S. from communist CS, I see lots of behavior amongs the big media and/or sport franchises like the communist exhibited. Mostly speaking the abuse/misuse of power and law against anyone they didn't like (or felt artificially threatnen by) and being above the law everytime they did someone wrong..

     

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  29.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 8:48am

    Re: Rights that don't really exist

    """
    Once again we see an attempt to conjure into existence a "right" that doesn't really exist in law.
    """

    I'm not sure that I agree in this case. It sounds as if, according to other comments, the ticket denotes several stipulations that the buyer must agree to in order to purchase the ticket, thus a contract is created. If promotion is disallowed under the terms of the contract, then it's disallowed. It's a pretty stupid move IMHO, but I don't see anything technically wrong with the Iggle's position.

     

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  30.  
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    James Miller, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 9:09am

    Give away!

    I would find it hard to believe that the radio station could not give these tickets away anyway they liked? I would believe that you could not implicate in anyway that the Eagles are in anyway connected to the give away.
    I can't believe the Eagles would make such a frigging big deal out of it!

     

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  31.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Rights that don't really exist

    1) Any contract that cannot be seen until the agreement is made is not a valid contract.

    2) No contract can go against the law, so a company cannot revoke the right of first sale.

    3) There has to be something else going on here or most (ok, I don't know if it's most) of season tickets sales are illegal. If a company purchases season tickets it's for the express intent of giving them to potential clients or to employees, ether way it's to increase profits for that company.

    4) The ticket was payed for, why douse it matter who payed for it? At least this way one more fan goes to the game instead of someone going because they didn't want to waste the ticket (if they don't just waste it)

     

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  32.  
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    Matthew Cruse (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 9:42am

    Re: You might have legally purchased the piece of paper

    yes, but just because all of the legalese is in there does not mean that it is enforceable or legal.

     

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  33.  
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    Sean T Henry (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:00am

    Re: Will It Even Get To Court?

    The station should have pressed on. If they become limited then never mention the Mets. "To day in sports no one cares about the NY baseball team since they place legal pressure on broad casters for promoting them. In other news the Reds won."

    Make it apparent why they are no longer being included tell the truth.

     

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  34.  
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    Will (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    10th caller gets license to view Eagles game

    I can see it now. Radio DJs gone bad. (in best morning show DJ voice) "Jack FM has YOUR seats for the Iggles versus the Redskins, all you have to do is be the 10th caller and you and another person will win the rights to a license with which you can view the upcoming Iggles game in person on Sunday afternoon. Understand that we will transfer all rights reserved by the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFL, and other interested parties (heretofore referred to as "the Iggles") Please note these rights are limited to the right to view aforementioned athletic contest. Reproduction via video or photographic paraphenalia is expressly forbidden, as is throwing anything other than "C" or "D" size batteries at Jim Zorn, Albert Haynesworth, Clinton Portis, and additional Redskins employees as specified by public notice on the Jumbotron." Oh well, I had fun writing this. You get my point.

     

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  35.  
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    thescoopz (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:22am

    Re: Who care...

    Yes, who cares. Anyone that signs that scumbag Michael Vick on needs to have their head examined.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    As JB said, this isn't just about giving the tickets away... The station was violating the Eagles trademarks by putting their logo's, helmets, pictures of players etc on a bunch of promotional items for the radio station. Like it or not, most if not all pro sports teams consider this a no-no.

    @Greg: Yeah, and you also forget that we cheered when that douche Michael Irvin nearly broke his neck at Vet stadium.

     

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  37.  
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    Luci, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 11:42am

    Re: Commercial Purposes

    Just because the /ticket/ says it does not make it legally binding. We'll have to wait to see what a court says, but in the meantime the issue that the Eagles are being idiots still stands.

     

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  38.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

    Re:

    "As JB said, this isn't just about giving the tickets away... The station was violating the Eagles trademarks by putting their logo's, helmets, pictures of players etc on a bunch of promotional items for the radio station. Like it or not, most if not all pro sports teams consider this a no-no."

    Most if not all radio stations charge for that shit. Morons.

     

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  39.  
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    minijedimaster (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 4:57pm

    Re:

    With a bag of Fail on the side.

     

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  40.  
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    minijedimaster (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 5:00pm

    Re: Re: Will It Even Get To Court?

    That's what I was thinking too. Why doesn't this "Radio Station" or in Doug's case the "TV Station" just call out the team for what it's doing. I'm sure a whole bunch of bad press will take care of the issue right quick.

     

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  41.  
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    minijedimaster (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 5:06pm

    Re:

    Just because Station A and the Loogies have an agreement does not mean they [Loogies] have a legal right to stop other stations from doing giveaways.

     

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

  42.  
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    minijedimaster (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 5:16pm

    Re:

    The station was violating the Eagles trademarks by putting their logo's, helmets, pictures of players etc on a bunch of promotional items for the radio station.

    If by "promotional items" you mean tickets then yea. Otherwise what the hell are you talking about. I read the first several pages of the complaint via link provided and the only thing they mention is using the tickets to the game for promotional use.

     

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


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