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 Post subject: Fantasy Baseball
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:05 am 
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So the Sumpreme Court threw out a lawsuit that MLB claimed they owned all the stats for people who played fantasy baseball. I thought this was over and done with before but its good news for all fantasy sports. I used to be in a fantasy baseball league and we had a guy crank out stats weekly. As a long time Fantasy Football player(18 years...before the internet) this was good news. All the more reason why MLB is out of touch with its entire fan base

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 Post subject: Re: Fantasy Baseball
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:58 am 
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MLB is also apparently out of touch with the law. Apparently their lawyers never read Feist v. Rural Telephone, quite possibly the most important Supreme Court decision on copyrightability. I'm a mere law student and even I knew that MLB was dead wrong. MLB wasted its money trying to get the Supreme Court to hear this.

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 Post subject: Re: Fantasy Baseball
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:28 pm 
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Willton wrote:
MLB is also apparently out of touch with the law. Apparently their lawyers never read Feist v. Rural Telephone, quite possibly the most important Supreme Court decision on copyrightability. I'm a mere law student and even I knew that MLB was dead wrong. MLB wasted its money trying to get the Supreme Court to hear this.


In 2005, MLB licensed certain fantasy baseball companies to use player names and stats, but refused to give a license to companies that had been paying for the right to use the information for years prior to that time. MLB was trying to freeze out fantasy competition, and gain control over the fantasy baseball leagues by controlling the stats.

The smaller league which could not get licensed now wants its money back for the years that it paid to get the information from MLB. Their attorney said that MLB could not protect freely-available information, just like a newspaper cannot copyright the temperature, or time of day.

Uh oh, MLB sets game with specific starting times. They may look into copyrighting the time of day . . .


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 Post subject: Re: Fantasy Baseball
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:34 pm 
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Willton wrote:
MLB is also apparently out of touch with the law. Apparently their lawyers never read Feist v. Rural Telephone, quite possibly the most important Supreme Court decision on copyrightability. I'm a mere law student and even I knew that MLB was dead wrong. MLB wasted its money trying to get the Supreme Court to hear this.


Send 'em a resume. I'm certain that you'll be able to convince them that you know more than the silk stocking lawyers who practice in this arena every day.
Don't assume that MLB didn't fully recognize that their chances of victory were minimal. New precedent is created every day and litigants "push the envelope" every day in an effort to create new law. I'm quite certain that internal privileged documentation thoroughly and accurately laid it all out for the decision makers at MLB.

The law is far from black-and-white or permanently etched in stone. You'll see soon enough.

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 Post subject: Re: Fantasy Baseball
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:18 pm 
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Willton wrote:
MLB is also apparently out of touch with the law. Apparently their lawyers never read Feist v. Rural Telephone, quite possibly the most important Supreme Court decision on copyrightability. I'm a mere law student and even I knew that MLB was dead wrong. MLB wasted its money trying to get the Supreme Court to hear this.

Maybe they thought it was worth a shot. The makeup of the Court has changed quite a bit over the last eight years, and it seems like copyright protection keeps getting extended to more ridiculous lengths every few years or so. I read somewhere recently that fantasy baseball revenues are in the billions of dollars, so the potential return was huge if they won.

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 Post subject: Re: Fantasy Baseball
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:04 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
Send 'em a resume. I'm certain that you'll be able to convince them that you know more than the silk stocking lawyers who practice in this arena every day.
Don't assume that MLB didn't fully recognize that their chances of victory were minimal. New precedent is created every day and litigants "push the envelope" every day in an effort to create new law. I'm quite certain that internal privileged documentation thoroughly and accurately laid it all out for the decision makers at MLB.

The law is far from black-and-white or permanently etched in stone. You'll see soon enough.

Give me a few years and I very well may send them my resume. :D

Having worked at the U.S. District Court for the District of NJ this past semester, I know that those "silk-stocking" lawyers can still write some really bad briefs and present arguments that don't pass the smell test. Just because some lawyer made partner somewhere does not necessarily mean he's actually a good lawyer.

The law in this particular area is pretty well settled: facts are not copyrightable. If MLB's lawyers did their homework (which I'm guessing that they did), they would have known this and advised MLB Media accordingly. Given how settled the law is in this area and how anti-IP the current SCOTUS is, MLB was better off pocketing whatever money they spent on those "silk-stocking" lawyers instead of paying them to petition for cert.

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 Post subject: Re: Fantasy Baseball
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:08 pm 
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sisyphus wrote:
Willton wrote:
MLB is also apparently out of touch with the law. Apparently their lawyers never read Feist v. Rural Telephone, quite possibly the most important Supreme Court decision on copyrightability. I'm a mere law student and even I knew that MLB was dead wrong. MLB wasted its money trying to get the Supreme Court to hear this.

Maybe they thought it was worth a shot. The makeup of the Court has changed quite a bit over the last eight years, and it seems like copyright protection keeps getting extended to more ridiculous lengths every few years or so. I read somewhere recently that fantasy baseball revenues are in the billions of dollars, so the potential return was huge if they won.

The current Court is quite anti-intellectual property, and with the exception of Eldred v. Ashcroft, the Court has been quite willing to limit the scope and power of copyright when it can. It is Congress who tends to extend the lengths of copyright an infinitum.

Given how much money MLB was likely raking in from stats-licensing, I suppose I could understand taking the shot. The 8th Circuit's decision not only jeopardizes their fantasy market, but I foresee it greatly affecting their ability to sell licenses to video game companies as well. But that said, their chances of being heard were slim to none. I would have spent the money on figuring out how to salvage their market.

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