August 2006

"Fantasy Baseball" Decision

by Lee Gesmer on August 10, 2006

[Update:] Matt Mattari sent me a link to his article on this topic, which was published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology before the publication of the decision. Click here to read the article (pdf file).
Here is a link (pdf file) to the federal district court decision in the C.B.C. Distribution and Marketing Inc. v. Major League Baseball Advanced Media and Major League Baseball Players’ Association case, issued on August 8, 2006.

Quoting from the decision:

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 CBC’s fantasy games and that CBC has not violated the players’ 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 CBC’s fantasy games are not copyrightable and, therefore, federal copyright law does not preempt the players’ claimed right of publicity.

Read the full article

Son of Rambus

by Lee Gesmer on August 9, 2006

Foundry Networks, Inc. has filed suit against Alcatel in federal court in Delaware. The claims are very similar to the claims in the Rambus litigations. A copy of the complaint is here (pdf file).

Andy Updegrove discusses this case and its similarities to Rambus in his “Son of Rambus” post, here.… Read the full article

One of the risks of sending a legal demand letter to someone in the Internet age is that they will post it on the web and ridicule you. That’s what happened when the Baker & McKenzie law firm sent the very popular web site Boing Boing a letter warning it not to broadcast the World Cup competition, and containing the ominous threat that it would have its “agents actively monitor your website and others to identify unlawful activity.” Boing Boing published the letter here. (The letter is an image, so you may have to print it to read it).

Is a preemptive strike like this legally effective? Almost certainly it is not, except as a warning to the web site owner itself not to publish video or audio from the Cup. However, no sane, established web site owner would do so even without such a warning, since the site owner would risk significant damages (and particularly “statutory” damages – aka punitive damages) of up to $150,000 per infringement ).… Read the full article

100 Million Videos, Daily

by Lee Gesmer on August 4, 2006

An interesting article in Business Week on the copyright issues raised by YouTube’s tremendous success.

When YouTube Inc. was sued on July 14 for copyright infringement, the shock wasn’t that the video-sharing service was being yanked into court. Questions had been swirling for months about whether the upstart, which now dishes up 100 million daily videos, was crossing copyright boundaries by letting its members upload videos with little oversight. continue . .

YouTube has a strong answer to this complaint based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (pdf file), which allows publishers like YouTube to avoid copyright liability for infringements posted by third parties, so long as an infringement is taken down after notice to the publisher.… Read the full article