Major League Baseball said it would appeal a federal court ruling allowing an online fantasy baseball business to use names and statistics without paying for a licensing agreement.
M.L.B. and the players union also said Wednesday that they expected to win back the right to demand money from fantasy operators like the St. Louis-based CBC Distribution and Marketing Inc., which prevailed in its lawsuit in a federal courtâ€™s summary judgment issued Tuesday.
For the reasons more fully set forth above, the court finds that the undisputed facts establish that the players do not have a right of publicity in their names and playing records as used in CBCâ€™s fantasy games and that CBC has not violated the playersâ€™ claimed right of publicity. The court further finds, alternatively, that even if the players have a claimed right of publicity, the First Amendment takes precedence over such a right. The court further finds that the undisputed facts establish that the names and playing records of Major League baseball players as used in CBCâ€™s fantasy games are not copyrightable and, therefore, federal copyright law does not preempt the playersâ€™ claimed right of publicity. Additionally, the court finds that the no-challenge provision of the 2002 Agreement between CBC and the Playersâ€™ Association and the provision of this Agreement which prohibits CBC from using playersâ€™ names and playing records after the expiration of the Agreement are unenforceable based on public policy considerations. The court finds, therefore, that declaratory judgment should issue in CBCâ€™s favor. As such, the court will order the Playersâ€™ Association and Advanced Media to refrain from interfering with CBCâ€™s fantasy games in the manner proscribed by this courtâ€™s decision.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that CBCâ€™s Motions for Summary Judgment are GRANTED;