August 9, 2006

Non-Copyrightable Stats

Posted in copyright, judgments and transcripts at 5:54 am by thelawthoughts

Marty Schwimmer at the Trademark Blog points to a case in the US where it was held that MLB does not own the statistics of baseballers, and therefore cannot prevent others making money from running fantasy leagues which use those statistics.

Well, yeah. I am not surprised that this was dealt with by summary judgment (albeit 49 pages. 49 page summary judgment? Sheesh). My mother even knows that facts are not copyright. It is the way one reduces those facts to material form that becomes the copyright material.

So here is my question – do fantasy league owners use stats generated by the MLB and published by them? If they do, surely that is infringement. If, for example, I run a little basketball fantasy league between my friends, charge them $10 each to enter and get the stats from, that much be infringement. Only if I compile the stats myself am I not reusing the expression of another.

What am I missing here?


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