7th dec, 2007

Fantasy league takes a hit

Creating fantasy leagues in sports where fans can form their own soccer, baseballl or football teams is quite an industry all over the world.

This industry have been given a blow by a US court ruling. C.B.C. Distribution and Marketing, Inc., brought an action for a judgment against Major League Baseball Advanced Media, to establish its right to use, without license, the names of and information about major league baseball players in connection with its fantasy baseball products.

The ruling is interesting because the court states that CBC uses the Baseball players identities for profit and thereby violate their rights under the law. Nevertheless the court argues that the first amendment rights given by the US Constitution (free speech) must be balanced by the players rights. The court notes that the information about the players is already in the public domain, the consumers will not be misled by CBC´s actions and that rewarding of celebrity labour and protecting emotional harm is not relevant for the case.

The court finds in favour of CBC and thereby allow them to form a fantasy league without compensation to the MLB.

Will such a case be decided in the same way in Denmark? The Danish Marketing practices act protects the use of persons for marketing purposes but it is uncertain if the argument of information in the public domain will be accepted by a danish court. So I´m not certain, but it could go either way.

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