FanDuel - WFBC

May 16, 2006

Fantasy baseball is going to trial!: There is a dispute between a St. Louis Co. that operates some fantasy sports leagues over the internet, and the internet arm of MLB. MLB thinks anyone using names and stats needs to buy a license, the St. Louis Co. says those are public domain.

posted by jojomfd1 to baseball at 01:26 AM - 25 comments

MLB really will do anything in its power to take the NFL's "no-fun-league" mantle.

posted by ninjavshippo at 01:48 AM on May 16

GO ST. Louise Co.!!!! This is absolutely moronic, claiming names, NAMES and a bunch of numbers are somehow copyrightable. I hope Selig gets nailed to a fucking wall.

posted by Drood at 03:34 AM on May 16

MLB needs to do more to foster good will among fans and business partners. I am really not concerned with who is letter of the law correct. Can't MLB see that the use of names and stats just further the MLB and affiliate brands? see also

posted by geekyguy at 04:29 AM on May 16

Okay, here’s a quick poll........... You need someone to run your company, and you have three candidates: A. Ted Kaczynski- The Unabomber B. Bud Selig C. Ken Lay – Former Enron CEO I'm thinking Ted, would be my man.

posted by lightman at 07:05 AM on May 16

It's unlikely this will go to trial. And I wonder why the story -- which has been bantering around for months -- just hit the NYT now.

posted by Dan121377 at 08:14 AM on May 16

Kill fantasy baseball and the game withers. It's the only reason to follow the sport for me anymore. At one time I was the complete fan......

posted by mikemora at 08:14 AM on May 16

I just can't see baseball winning this. The implications would be huge. The reason why baseball players are able to make the money they make is because of the publicity that MLB seeks out. I just don't buy that baseball can own information in the context of fantasy baseball, but the same information is news that is found in every sports section.

posted by bperk at 08:32 AM on May 16

I've never played in a fantasy league of any kind so I have no first hand knowledge of how it works. My question is if MLB wins this case in September, will those who do play stage a fantasy baseball strike? Or would it be a fantasy owners lockout?

posted by Folkways at 08:48 AM on May 16

This is such a mistake by MLB - I know that their intention is not to shut down fantasy baseball, but to shut down those operations that are profiting from it without their cut - but the reality is that is how this will be interpretted by the fantasy baseball fan. And fantasy baseball is a cost-free multi-million dollar marketing endeavor that takes up none of MLBs time or money - it's all benefit. But really - is anyone surprised? These guys are bottom-line business men. If there is a way to squeeze another dime out of a dollar, they'll break their hands trying to do it. The implications of this case for other internet sites is interesting - celebrity fan sites, e-zines (with subscriptions), etc. Why not, huh? The news has been bought and sold on such a regular basis now, anyway that CNN, FOX and the like are practically marketing companies. I am so disillusioned these days.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:49 AM on May 16

From the article:

According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, more than 15 million people spend about $1.5 billion annually to play fantasy sports
/me starts working frenetically on Project Confidence. Really, this figure makes no sense. Each fantasy player spends an average of 100$ per year? Get out of here!

posted by qbert72 at 09:59 AM on May 16

It's sad I'm not surprised. Everything and everyone is a brand now. Can't MLB realize the HUGE impact Fantasy Baseball has on it's following??

posted by HaHaSports at 10:00 AM on May 16

MLB.com, has decreased its number of licensees from dozens in 2004 to 19 last season to 7 this year, focusing on large multimedia outlets like CBS SportsLine and cutting out many of the four-figure licenses that had covered smaller operators' use of only names and statistics. It sounds almost as if MLB was setting this up from the very begining to happen this way. If they can't have the big money then they don't want any. What is the difference in these small sites that use only names and stats, and the box scores in the local newspaper?

posted by jojomfd1 at 10:02 AM on May 16

Really, this figure makes no sense. Each fantasy player spends an average of 100$ per year? Get out of here! I pay about $150 (Cdn) a year for my fantasy league I'm in (Scoresheet). I also purchase two different books (Baseball Prospectus and Baseball Forecaster), for about $45 (Cdn) total. Now, the fantasy league is the only one that would be affected by this trial, but I wouldn't be bothering with the books if I wasn't in the league, so that's a side effect of a fantasy league crackdown.

posted by grum@work at 11:03 AM on May 16

It's just the American Corperate way! GREED!!!! I got mine and I want more!!!!

posted by The Tribster at 02:15 PM on May 16

Beware Grum, that's how it starts. A small league here, an attractive payout there. Hmmmm, well this season's done, sure, I have time for this sport. Next thing you know, it's a year round obsession. Sooo many teams, so much invested. Not just the American Corporate Way, but the American Way, My Way. And sure, regrets, I've had a few, (mostly involving a professional athelete named Lindross!). So screw MLB, I will take my $ a find plenty of other hands held out for them.

posted by RedStrike at 03:28 PM on May 16

A small league here, an attractive payout there. Scoresheet has no financial reward for winning your league, other than a chintzy little trophy. I don't play in any roto leagues, and I definitely don't play where prize money is on the line (as that can lead to collusion). Next thing you know, it's a year round obsession. Oh, it still is. I don't know too many other people in my circle of friends that surf the web for Arizona Fall League results and Dominican league stats... Sooo many teams, so much invested. There is a gentleman I know of that has 7 different Scoresheet teams (in different leagues). That's just crazy.

posted by grum@work at 03:33 PM on May 16

The Supreme Court ruled many years ago that compilations of public information are legal and in fact can be separately copyrighted if effort is made in the organization of the facts. I'm pretty sure the precedent is from Westlaw, the company which made the books of court decisions which themselves became used as citations in decisions (that is, the specific volume and page numbers from the books became the official way to cite previous case law). So I don't see how MLB can make this claim stand up if it came to trial. Then again, the American legal system has surprised me time and time again.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:39 PM on May 16

Crazy? Crazy like a fox! Especially in leagues that have $$ payouts, (are there any others?). The more teams the more chances. As for collusion, that's just another word for "competetive edge". Yeah, that's the ticket. And if MLB does come down on this, (they shouldn't win, but in the ju$tice $y$tem of ours . . . ), we'll, (the leaguers), will take our $ elsewhere. Anyone up for some Strat-O?

posted by RedStrike at 03:41 PM on May 16

Baseball Prospectus The bad memories are still there... I play exclusively with Yahoo so I don't think this will affect me. There is a gentleman I know of that has 7 different Scoresheet teams (in different leagues). I think you should check to see if his brain is okay because seven teams in Fantasy baseball is just insane.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:17 PM on May 16

I can't believe that I wasted my time reading your post. Then I can't believe I wasted more time writing a post in response to your time wastery post. And now I realize how wasteful it is to continue writing on wasteful writing. My god - I've become that which I despise. Oh, Mistress Irony - your sword is sharp and precise.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:24 PM on May 16

I love fantasy baseball and stuff, but this is not a big deal

posted by Young Mikey at 07:24 PM on May 16

I'm guessing it was worth enough of your while to make a post. And if your fantasy baseball league folds because it can't use any stats from MLB, then I'm guessing it'll be a "big deal" to you at that point.

posted by grum@work at 08:05 PM on May 16

I play fantasy sports- but I dont see the point of spending money on my team. Its only something I do for fun- I just cant get that serious over a game about a game. Its rediculous.

posted by redsoxrgay at 08:19 PM on May 16

Not sure I can support MLB on this, unless, St Louis Sports is getting a down load from an MLB run stat service, as opposed to say inputting all the numbers by hand (God, am I really old enough to remember sitting with USA Todayonce a week to manually update all the teams in the league I was commish for?) MLB, theoretically at least, can lay claim to compiled stats up to the point they are published, after that, I would think that they then fall into the public domain as historic fact. Of course, the small leagues could do away with names and teams would be populated with CF1 or SP4....Hmmm, MinnSP3 went 6.1 innings last night, 6 hits, 4 walks, 7 K, 1 WB, 4 ER

posted by elovrich at 01:13 AM on May 17

The small leagues would not have to do away with any player names or team names. Just pictures, and team logos. Thats the way I understood it.

posted by jojomfd1 at 01:43 PM on May 17

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