Saturday, October 20, 2007

Appeals Court Decision For Fantasy Sports

This week an important court decision was made in favor of fantasy sports games. Major League Baseball has been claiming that they own their statistics and require any fantasy baseball games to pay them a licensing fee. This may be a money maker for MLB, but it alienates many of the smaller fantasy sports games who cannot afford these fees. As a result, some smaller fantasy baseball games such as Swirve Baseball have closed up shop.

This position was challenged by CDC Marketing and Distribution, who run CDM fantasy baseball. They challenged this position in court. They won this case. This week, the appeals court upheld the ruling. The ruling was unanimous on the idea that baseball statistics are in the public domain and not owned by MLB. On another issue, they won with a 2-1 margin on the fact that they had signed documentation with Major League Baseball that asserted MLB's rights of ownership of their statistics in the past.

Major League Baseball was forced to argue against a position they had held in an earlier court case where they were sued in California by former player Al Gionfriddo about a fantasy game run by Major league Baseball using historic players and stats. Gionfriddo argued that retired players should get a portion of the profits of the games. In that case, MLB argued that the stats and players were in the public domain.

This result is good for fantasy sports and fantasy hockey because it reduces potential limitations on fantasy sports games by MLB (or the NHL) trying to control them with methods such as licensing fees.

Here is a article on this court ruling.

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