MLB Threatens Guy Who Made A Cool iPhone App For Baseball Fans

from the there's-thick-headed-and-then-there's-mlb dept

It’s really disappointing watching various sports leagues abuse intellectual property law over and over again. Perhaps the worst offender has been Major League Baseball. MLB wants people to think that it owns absolutely everything having to do with baseball, even though the courts have shot it down repeatedly. Even when it may be legally correct, its moves tend to do more to harm the game than to help it. It’s as if MLB wants to keep shooting itself in the foot. The latest example was sent in by William Jackson, who points out that MLB is threatening the guy who made a neat Baseball app for the iPhone.

MLB has its own baseball app for the iPhone, which costs $5, that shows scores and highlights — but this free app doesn’t compete with that one. Instead, it’s basically a baseball encyclopedia, allowing fans to look up all sorts of interesting historical stats and information. In other words, it’s the sort of thing that helps fans feel even more connected to the game. So what does MLB do? It complains that the guy has the actual logos of Major League teams in the app. MLB argues that this is trademark infringement, but that’s questionable. This is helping to promote those major league teams, not harm or dilute their brand in any way.

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Companies: mlb

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Comments on “MLB Threatens Guy Who Made A Cool iPhone App For Baseball Fans”

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Boost says:

Re: Whatever

Spoken by someone who probably thinks NASCAR is cool as hell..”hahaha haha hahaha haha hahaha…look at all the cool crashes. Wait, why are they driving in circles?” ~clueless dipshit

I played baseball for most of my life and I think it’s pretty fun to watch a good game…especially a pitchers dual that goes 0-0 for 9 plus innings. Defense rules.

But, then again, you probably watch sports just to see if someone gets hurt.

Twinrova says:

And MLB is to blame?

ALL of “professional” sports should be banned from this country. I’m absolutely sick of listening to players being charged with a crime.

Let MLB do what it wants. They’ve lost me as a fan long, long ago when the players went on strike.

True players don’t strike because it’s not about the money.

In today’s sports world, it’s always about the money.

Screw ’em all and Techdirt shouldn’t even give any of them the time of day with any publicity (good or bad).

fritz says:

Re: And MLB is to blame?

“True players don’t strike because it’s not about the money.”

Actually, professional baseball has always been about the money, not the game.

This argument, the owners aren’t making enough money, has been around since the creation of professional leagues and is not going away anytime soon.

It’s too bad, the baseball app is a great resource for historic baseball stats. I’m glad I already have it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Free or not is irrelevant. If they really infringe it is probably an easy matter to remove the logos, or ask the game’s fans to come up with parodies of the MLB logos that can be included in the game.

Yes, MLB probably does need to defend its trademarks. However, they also have the option of licensing them to the game. There are a lot of ways to handle this, but history suggests MLB will manage to pick the method that diminishes itself in the long run.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think everyone is failing to see the real reason they want this guy’s app shut down. His is free! Their app, although nowhere near as good, is $5 bucks. So given the choice who would pay $5 for an inferior application when there is a free one available that works better and offers more features…Greed is the factor here I think.

Vincent Clement says:

Back In The Day...

Not too long ago companies and sports leagues encouraged fans to embrace their brand. But then came along the internet and everything changed. Instead of embracing things that promote their brands, they fight them in court.

MLB could have easily said to this guy “hey, that is a cool app, how can we help you make it better?”. But the lawyers would be out of business of the MLB (or any organization) embraced fans and customers.

Thom says:

Stupid FANS

This goes on in every sport because there are too many stupid FANS. There’s never been a game played that’s worth what you’d have to pay for a soda and a snack at one of today’s games, much less worth what they charge for admission. The very fact that any player in any game makes more money than a teacher shows how f’d in the head the human race has become.

Greg says:

Re: Stupid FANS

While I agree that teachers should be paid more, it’s ENTERTAINMENT we’re paying for when we go to a sporting event, or a concert. People are willing to pay more for entertainment, so the entertainers are compensated more. A LOT more. All in all, there are so few entertainers that get paid multi-millions compared to the number of teachers in the country, the rarity of the professional athlete commands a higher salary.

Dominique Marquez says:

Does anyone see a pattern here?

Seems that when companies who are hurting in their core competency of entertainment put a higher value on supplemental media- be it MP3, Video, or an iPhone application attempt to litigate, it just creates a psychological downward spiral of contempt by a fanbase (for all intents and purposes: Consumers) towards the entire product line.

Trying to justify a higher price for entertainment by forcing artificial scarcity (removing what would be real good, and extremely inexpensive marketing tools for their core product) is shortsighted to say the least.

But considering past actions, it seems the people in charge listen more to the attorneys and lawyers than the fans. Good luck with protecting the precious, precious intellectual property.

The stance does affect ticket sales.

T says:


That’s what I like to do, they’ll eventually have a near death experience before they realize that they’re actually really hurting themselves. Then they’ll try to get back up, and they’ll fall…

Then you get to laugh at them….

In an unrelated note, this is what I’m waiting for Microsoft to do.

Of course… don’t just sit back and watch, if everyone (or the majority) do that, then there will be nothing to watch…. and that would be sad….

Vote with your wallets and, in this case, your eyeballs.
Then just wait and you’ll eventually hear a huge THUD… at least, this sometimes happens, other times the customer/fan base is too stupid/lethargic to get pissed off over things, kinda like the proletariat in “1984”. Not that I’m suggesting that anything of the totalitarian government sort is going on….. or that all baseball fans are stupid and lethargic, I’ve met my fair share of reasonably intelligent baseball fans, even one enviously intelligent one…

Anyway, just watch, even if they don’t fall, you’ll surely get to watch them stumble and sway…. and then you still get to laugh…. does that make me a little sadistic?

FP says:


For infringement to happen, an act of commerce where goods are exchanged must have existed. Exchanging public information is thankfully protected by the first amendment. Since the information is offered at no cost, there is no commerce, therefore, there is no infringement. MLB has a practice of missrepresenting its rights beyond the protection under copyright law and bullying companies with threats of litigation which results in restraining trade. This is a violation af antitrust law….a felony! Someone needs to report these guys to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Prosecuting them criminally is the only way you will bring them around.

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