Yet Again: Court Tells MLB It Doesn't Own Facts

from the just-let-people-play dept

After being smacked down multiple times by courts, Major League Baseball has continued to tilt at the windmill of copyright, claiming again that it owns the rights to players’ names and stats and no one can use them without paying MLB a fee. The problem with this, of course, is that you cannot own facts. Despite the court pointing this out repeatedly, MLB’s lawyers have continued to push the case forward. Kevin writes in to let us know that, once again, baseball has been smacked down, as an appeal to rehear the entire case has been denied by the appeals court meaning the only thing left to do is appeal to the Supreme Court. Given how much effort MLB has put into this lawsuit don’t be surprised to see that appeal happen. However, it would be surprising if the Supreme Court actually took the case.

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Comments on “Yet Again: Court Tells MLB It Doesn't Own Facts”

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TheDock22 says:

I can see...

I can see how the MLB cannot own a player’s name and their stats, but facts can be sued over.

For instance, Coke could sue anyone that posts their recipe online for damages, even though the recipe itself is nothing more than a fact of a product.

But as far as MLB is concerned, I doubt they own a player’s name or stats. If anything, the player themselves would own that information.

Jake Buck says:

Re: I can see...

I may be wrong, but as i see it there are two reasons coke can sue over their recipe being posted online:
that they don’t tell anyone the recipe without having them sign a nondisclosure agreement, and the recipe is a process, which is patentable.

Now if they broadcast the recipe on tv or sold it on recipe cards, that would be a different story.

Some Guy says:

I can see...

For instance, Coke could sue anyone that posts their recipe online for damages, even though the recipe itself is nothing more than a fact of a product.

Coke’s recipe is intellectual property that is not publicly available. That’s why they can sue if someone exposes that secret. Publicly-known facts, such as baseball statistics, are not property. They’re public domain.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Baseball is the most boring, retarded, and primitive sport still played today. The game is so boring you derive the bulk of the satisfaction from anal recordkeeping and statistical analyses. More happens in one play in american football or one minute of regular football than happens in an entire baseball game.

Sean says:

a list of ingredients

Actually a recipe containing only a list of ingredients is not able to be copyrighted. If I reverse engineer the recipe and post what I think the recipe is online I cannot be sued. If I posted the actual recipe and process of combining those ingredients that is where the legal troubles come.

How do you think that websites get away with posting taste alike recipes for Mrs. Field’s Cookies or Church’s Fried Chicken?

bmac (profile) says:

Le Blue Dude

Soccer is an excellent sport…if you are extremely poor and can only afford a ball and a couple of nets. That’s the main reason so many third world countries thrive on it. If they could afford the equipment necessary to play baseball or football, they would cherish and play those sports as well.

Soccer is the most boring game known to man. Who cares about watching a bunch of marathon runners scamper around the pasture with next to NO SCORING to show for it after 90 minutes? It’s quite futile to watch and play.

It’s now the sport of choice for little kids in the US because they don’t have to comfort little Johnny because he struck out, got tackled/sacked or missed a tackle, missed the game-winning 3-pointer, etc. It’s easier to handle losing in soccer because there’s so little at stake to begin with.

I don’t wonder that fans get out of hand and kill one another at soccer games. They’re all mightily pissed off that they had to endure 90 minutes of completely useless and unentertaining thrashing.

Mike says:

Re: Le Blue Dude

Football is really much more interesting, being smashed by just getting a hold of the ball and running fast enough so a bunch of sweaty dudes don’t jump on top of me to bring me down. The only one that can barely claim to have some sort of talent (besides running) is the quarterback. Even the name is illogical, why call Football a sport that you barely use the feet ? (except for running away from the dudes with an urgent need of tackling me because I have the ball)

That is why the only country in the world that plays it is US and why is not showcased on the Olympic games.

But yeah,,, soccer is the most boring sport known to man, but I’m sure the LA Galaxy doesn’t agree since they purchased David Beckham for 250 million dollars, neither the sports chains (ESPN, etc) battle for the broadcasting rights of soccer leagues in Europe and around the world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Le Blue Dude

Preparing plays and attempting to execute them perfectly even as they crumble around you due to your opponent’s actions. Each play has a million dimensions of variation and unexpected consequences.

Due to the stop and go structure of the game, plays matter more here than any other sport. It is the closest thing to action chess that is a popular sport.

That is football.

ll says:

I can see how… well every country in the world is “extremely poor”.
Fucking idiot.

The only reason football and baseball are so popular is because those are your only (and exclusive) sports. Hell if the rugby players of the world decided to give up their competitive and violent game for a padded, protected, safe commercial-fest designed to sell beer, also known as the more-talking-than-playing game of american football, I’m sure they could give the US teams a run for their money. In the meantime, go on, celebrate your own successes in your own game that none of the rest of the world even competes in.

Hell the only popular american sport that other countries actually play is basketball – and compared to other countries (see: Olympics) america’s basketball team, for the lack of a better word, fellates.

asdf says:

Re: Re:

f*** the rest of the world. Why the hell does it even matter that we are alone in liking football and baseball? At least I – as in me, the person writing this post – am not telling you that soccer is retarded. I don’t care what everyone else plays, I’ll enjoy what I will thank you very much – and need no permission from people halfway across the world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Personally I think watching soccer is about as interesting as watching paint dry, and watching baseball is a hell of a lot less interesting than both of those.

As for trying to copyright the stats, how the hell can you do that when they’re usually broadcast to the world over tv and radio every time there is a game? I would have thought they were public domain.

bmac (profile) says:


Yeah, I played when I was junior high. It was futile then, and still is.

I’ll grant you that a player has to be in really good shape and have great stamina, but that in no way makes the game fun to play or watch. It just means a bunch of in-shape people running around for 90 minutes and still ending up with little to nothing to show for all that effort.

Nobody I knew enjoyed playing soccer back then; it was just the only thing they could afford to do at my little private school. Later, the school devoted a little money to athletics and bought baseball gear and the equipment for flag football. We never played soccer again.

bmac (profile) says:


I’m not necessarily defending American sports. Rugby and it’s variations are much superior to American football. These sports are very entertaining to watch and could be considered to be more pure than our pre-packaged variety and all its trappings.

Baseball can be very boring, but it also has the potential to be thrilling. Wouldn’t be my first choice.

Basketball, particularly NCAA basketball, would by far be my choice if I have to watch sports. Pro basketball, like baseball, simply has too long a season, and there’s really nothing worth watching until the playoffs, and sometimes not even then.

But back to soccer, which is the reason I posted to begin with: Still nonsense. To paraphrase II from comment 18, it sucks and blows. And out of 90 minutes of coma-inducing activity, there’s maybe 30 seconds of thrilling.

Nobody in the soccer realm is clamoring to make their stats copyrighted, now, are they?

bmac (profile) says:

Mike, again

Sorry, forgot to talk about Becks. He’s done, man. He’s gotten all tied up with the Cruiser, and before you know it, he’ll be drinking the Xenu kool-aid.

For the uninitiated, Xenu is the galactic overlord who killed trillions of aliens here on Earth (then called Teegeeack) and the souls of those aliens infect every one of us and prevent man from reaching his potential. Don’t worry, though. $cientology has the cure and all you need to do is hand over your bank accounts, and you too can have cause over matter, energy, space and time through the miracle power of Dianetics and the e-meter.

M says:

Coke can not sue if their recipe is put online unless they copyright it! If they were stupid enough to do that they would then loose that right after a certain amount of years (like drug companies loose their exclusive copyright and the generics swoop in). Coke the brand is trade marked, thus you can not use the coke symbol (they will sue you for that). the recipe is a trade secret, it could be published and coke would not be dumb enough to say “hey you ass thats our recipe” which would tell everyone that it was true.

bmac (profile) says:

Anon #28

What do you categorize as excitement? There is nothing at all exciting about watching a bunch of people run around for 90 minutes while not scoring points for their team. It’s like this. Most of the time in good sporting competitions, both teams score points and it’s a competition to see who can score the most in the time limit. With soccer, it’s who can manage to score, if at all. That’s why it doesn’t excite, plain and simple. It’s the same reason that baseball can be totally boring. There’s too little action mixed in with all that futility.

Cricket is foreign to me. I don’t have any idea what it’s like, because I’ve never seen it played. I would think that I would actually find it more exciting than soccer, as I would be seeing something for the first time, and wouldn’t know what to expect.

With soccer, I know exactly what to expect, and I always get it. No scoring, lots of running, etc. It would be more exciting to watch the 10,000 meters from start to finish. At least in that sport, there’s guaranteed to be a winner when it’s over.

Soccer can be made more palatable, however. Make the field of play smaller, the goal larger, anything.

Mike says:

Re: Anon #28

The amount of chances to score in a game does not equal the amount of excitement it provides… take basketball, between 90 to 120 points per game and I, for one, don’t consider it exciting. However it has more to be seen than a game of “hit-the-other-players-as-much-as-required” a.k.a “American Football” Give me a decent billiard or soccer match anytime.

In soccer you see the ability of each player outrunning, dribbling the opponent, creating a play, passing, over the air, on the pitch, there’s more than just kicking the ball or throwing it and running away before you get smashed by the opponent.

And if it’s for the hitting and so called “strategy” see Rugby for instance… lots of hitting and none of the fancy gear (helmet, pads, armor, etc) players use in football.

bmac (profile) says:

Okay, we get it...

Sorry about that, but you see, it’s very easy to turn this forum into a flame war, especially when people try to defend soccer and say it’s “exciting”. Who gives a crap about the MLB owning facts or not when some European and/or 3rd world mook brings up his glorious sport of soccer.

Obligatory inflammatory buzzwords follow:

Pedophile priests

You get the picture. Now move along, nothing further to see here.

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