May It Please The Court

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About J. Craig Williams

May It Please The Court
by Leonard Rivkin
Barnes & Noble CLE Books

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Quote of the Day - A lot of people are scared off from fantasy baseball because they think it's strictly for stats geeks. It's hurt the growth. It should have grown at the same rate. We want to change that perception. - Gregg Klayman
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Baseball Stats May Land In The Hands Of Fans, Not The Major League

Since early last year, trouble has been brewing in the world of fantasy baseball, and it's as real as it gets.  The question of who owns baseball statistics is a sticky wicket for Major League Baseball.  The club owners have sued those who use "their" statistics in order to pay rotisserie league baseball.  Like the other trademarks and copyrights owned by MLB, they claim they own the stats too to the exclusion of the fantasy baseball players and providers.

MIPTC has covered the issue from the beginning and as developments occurred, and although I don't "own" a fantasy team, many lawyers and other friends do.  They're quite upset over the prospects of losing their hobby.  We may soon have an answer to the question.  Arguments were heard in the appeals court today, and it's not looking good for MLB.

Looks like MLB wasn't throwing heat to the Court of Appeal.  In fact, the heat was coming from the Court itself:  "This is about names, you say, this is about statistics, they say," said Chief Judge James Loken.  "I understand the practicality of the war because the statistics are in the public domain.  And it seems to me it's clearly a use of public information to figure out that if you're going to have an ongoing fantasy sports league over the life of a real professional sports league -- clearly a collateral market -- you have to have an opening set of statistics and evolving statistics that will allow for competition and trades and so forth.  And so where do you get those statistics?  Well, you can't take the 1923 Philadelphia Athletics because that doesn't evolve over a season.  So you take these statistics that are in the public domain.  And as I translate your argument into this case, 'well, we won't argue with that but don't you dare put a name next to those statistics.'  Well, of course, that's ridiculous."

MITPC calls this case a pop fly.  It looks like an easy catch for an out to retire the side and put an end to this game.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 17:34 Comments (0)


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