Major League Baseball Deletes Popular MySpace Page For Using Cubs Logo

from the how-many-fans-can-we-alienate-this-week? dept

By now, it certainly shouldn't come as any surprise that Major League Baseball mis-interprets various intellectual property laws to pretend is has total control over certain content. After all, this is the organization that has insisted repeatedly that it owns facts, despite court after court explaining that facts aren't copyrightable. MLB also seems confused about copyright law when it comes to the legality of placeshifting. In the past, MLB also freaked out about fan websites potentially violating trademarks -- but that was a long time ago. Or so we thought. Apparently the fun lawyers at MLB shut down an immensely popular MySpace page for Chicago Cubs fans that was linked to a fan website called Cubbies Baseball. That fan website actually has a license to use the official Chicago Cubs logo, but MLB claims that the license didn't extend to MySpace as well -- just the Cubbies Baseball site. King Kaufman, the sports writer at Salon, blames MLB for not asking the owner of the site to remove the logo -- but puts more blame on MySpace for simply shutting down the site the second MLB complained, without giving any warning. He seems to think MLB isn't totally in the wrong in demanding the logo be removed, but again that's not necessarily true. If the site was clear that it was a fan site and had no official endorsement or association with the Cubs, it should be fair use to use the logo. MLB trots out the tired explanation that it has to defend its trademarks or risk losing them, but that's not so in a case where there's an obvious fair use exception. Either way, from a common sense standpoint, it's ridiculous for MySpace and MLB to shut down a vibrant fan community -- and it's made worse when you realize that the use of the logo probably isn't even a real violation of trademark law.

Filed Under: logos, trademark
Companies: mlb

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  1. identicon
    That Guy, 24 Aug 2007 @ 2:57pm

    I agree..but it was legal

    I totally agree that MLB is bullying their own fan base, and continually isolates their fans. Just goes to show that Comish Bud Selig really doesn't know what he's doing.

    BUT that being said it actually is a pretty clear that if you use copyrighted images your account will be deleted. It says it right above the image upload button. So since Myspace doesn't self police for copyright violations it pretty much leaves the door wide open for tattle tale lawyers to pull the virtual trigger to get an account deleted.

    What MLB should have done was messaged the account owner and tried to get an understanding in place where the account wouldn't get deleted. But hey, when was the last time you remember a bully saying "please."

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