First Amendment topicsAbout the First Amendment
News Story
 
MLB strikes out in effort to shut down fantasy baseball business

By The Associated Press
06.02.08

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court refused today to step into a dispute between a fantasy sports business and professional baseball.

Without comment, the justices declined to hear the case involving a segment of the $1.5 billion fantasy sports industry in the United States, in which participants manage imaginary teams based on the real-life performances of professional players.

The lawsuit involves C.B.C. Distribution and Marketing Inc., a Missouri company unable to obtain a license from a subsidiary of Major League Baseball to use players' names and statistics in C.B.C.'s fantasy baseball games.

The Missouri company sued, saying it did not need a license to continue to sell its fantasy baseball games on its Web site.

The baseball players' union jumped into the case on the league's side, alleging a state law violation of the players' publicity rights — the ability to profit from the commercial use of a person's name.

A federal judge and the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ruled in favor of the fantasy baseball business, saying that enforcing state law rights would violate C.B.C.'s right of free speech protected by the First Amendment.

"We're considering our options," union spokesman Greg Bouris said.

Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the MLB subsidiary, declined comment.

"We are continuing our policy from previous decisions in referring comment to the (Players Association) as our position here is one of a licensee of the rights with term set to expire at the end of this year," MLBAM spokesman Matt Gould said.

The National Football League Players Association supported professional baseball's request that the Supreme Court hear the case.

The case is Major League Baseball Advanced Media v. C.B.C. Distribution and Marketing, Inc. 07-1099.


Previous
8th Circuit rules in favor of fantasy baseball company
Three-judge panel upholds lower court decision that lets fantasy league use players' names and statistics without paying licensing fee. 10.17.07

Related

CBS sues NFL Players Association over fantasy football

Network goes to federal court, hoping to establish its right to use statistics without charge in online leagues. 09.09.08

Fantasy college sports spur debate over player rewards
At commission meeting, Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti pounds table, insists on payment for collegiate athletes. 10.29.08

Good news in judge's fantasy-league ruling
By Gene Policinski Decision that Major League Baseball, players don't 'own' stats or names endorses free flow of information. 08.11.06

Bowled over by toilet tirade ...
By Gene Policinski Really — a disorderly conduct charge for cursing at an overflowing commode in your own home? Also: journalist shield, fantasy baseball. 10.18.07

News summary page
View the latest news stories throughout the First Amendment Center Online.

print this   Print


Last system update: Sunday, January 25, 2009 | 07:57:37
 SEARCH  MORE
About this site
About the First Amendment
About the First Amendment Center
Video/RSS/podcasts
First Amendment programs
State of the First Amendment
reports

First Reports
Supreme Court
Experts
Columnists
First Amendment publications
First Amendment Center history
Glossary
Freedom Sings™
Events
First Amendment
Schools

Congressional Research Service reports
Guest editorials
FOI material
The First Amendment
Library

Lesson plans
freedomforum.org
Newseum
Contact us
Privacy statement
Related links