Wednesday, January 18, 2006
All about the Benjamins: It's ironic that Benjamin Franklin's 300th birthday was yesterday and we once again encounter a big business behaving badly.
Major League Baseball, which most recently switched from juiced balls to juiced players, is claiming that it owns the copyrights to its statistics. Your favorite player went 2-for-4 last night with a double? If you want to make note of the fact, then MLB wants a cut.
Until the end of 2004, CBC had a licensing arrangement with the Major League Baseball Players Association--the players’ union--which covered the rights to names, nicknames, numbers, likenesses, signatures, pictures, playing records, and biographical data.
MLB took over the business from the Players Association in 2005 and sent an email to CBC stating it was the exclusive licensee of the MLB players’ stats rights with respect to fantasy baseball.
The league said it has exclusive ownership of its statistics and therefore has the right to license that information.
CBC is challenging that assertion, saying baseball statistics for each game become part of the public domain when each game is over, and the company should not be charged for the use of those statistics.
“Major League Baseball can therefore preclude all fantasy sports league providers from using this basic public statistical information to provide these games to the consuming public and sports enthusiasts,” said the company in its lawsuit.
I'm sorry, but I don't think that's gonna fly. MLB may be able to bully this fantasy baseball league, but if the courts allow MLB's logic to take hold, then they're going to start charging newspapers and magazines next.
What was it they used to say about picking a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel?