Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Major League Baseball Still Claiming Ownership Of Game Data

from the can't-copyright-facts dept

Good old Major League Baseball. Back in October we wrote about how they were suddenly claiming that any website that broadcast real-time game info was violating their copyrights and were required to buy a license. Most people laughed this off and pointed to a 1997 ruling against the NBA, where Motorola was told they were allowed to send live game information to pagers. Now, Wired News is running a followup to the original story where MLB claims they know all about the Motorola decision, but believe it only applies to scores. Any other real-time info is their own. Again, I'll ask the same question I asked when this first came up. If I'm at the game, and I use my mobile phone to report what I see, is that considered "rebroadcasting" the game? What if I'm posting the information to a web site? From MLB's description, it certainly sounds like it. We've discussed this before (just a few posts ago, in fact), but you can't copyright facts, no matter how much you'd like to. If I see something with my own eyes and report it, I shouldn't require a "license" from Major League Baseball.

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  1. identicon
    Greg S, 1 Dec 2003 @ 11:16am

    No Subject Given

    The NBA vs. Motorola ruling is very clear on this, and mlb is just trying to ignore it.

    The key passage in the ruling is "Defendants provide purely factual information which any patron of an NBA game could acquire from the arena without any involvement from the director, cameramen, or others who contribute to the originality of a broadcast. This is not a scenario where defendants reproduced actual excerpts of the broadcasts of NBA games."

    Under this ruling, MLB cannot lay claim to own any facts from the game that a spectator can learn from watching the game, and thus cannot legally interfere with the transmission of such facts.

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