Play Ball! Supreme Court Declines Fantasy Baseball Case

Fantasy baseball players rejoice. The fantasy continues. The Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal in Major League Baseball Advanced Media v. C.B.C., 07-1099 — letting stand a ruling in favor of fantasy baseball businesses. It is a maor blow against Major League Baseball, which could now face a reexamination of fees paid by large Internet sites.

The case involved largely smaller operators but had the potential for a wider claim over the names and statistics of players.

The Eighth Circuit had ruled that citizens have a first amendment right to use such names and statistics without paying fees to the players or Major League Baseball. The refusal to hear the case leaves that ruling in place.

It is a great victory for both those who favor this $1.4 billion industry and those who oppose the increasing limitations of copyright, trademarks, and propriety limitations over Internet material. The question will be the large outfits and how they will respond to the ruling since they have licensing agreements with MLB. Presumably, if this information is protected public domain material, those fees would now be in serious question.

For the appellate decision, click here.

For the full story on the case, click here.