How Much Is That Pork Chop In The Window (Or The Value Of The Past)
Who owns what you do?
Let’s say you went to the store last night and purchased a pork chop.
Now on the surface that may not seem like a big deal.
But if I saw you buy it would it be wrong for me to sell the fact that you purchased a pork chop to a company that is interested in people interested in pork.
It may seem funny but a lot of people are interested in your eating habits.
And everything else that you do.
Information is everywhere and it’s not really a secret. People sell information, public information, all the time.
But this post is not about your privacy or my love of swine.
It’s about baseball.
Major League Baseball bought the rights to use player names, photographs and statistics from its players’ union in 2005 for $50 million over five years.
MLB sold the annual licensing rights for about $2 million each to companies including CBS Corp.’s SportsLine.com and Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN.
But it seems that those rights didn’t belong to the player’s union to sell.
In fact, they don’t belong to anyone.
A federal appeals court upheld a lower-court ruling that lets a fantasy baseball company use players’ names and statistics without paying a licensing fee.
Major League Baseball’s position in the case was supported in legal briefs by NFL Ventures LP, National Football League Players Association, NBA Properties Inc., NHL Enterprises LP, NASCAR Inc., PGA Tour Inc. and WNBA Enterprises LLC.
No matter though. They all lost.
Of course this ruling will have major ramifications in the fantasy sports world.
You’re going to see fantasy sports companies coming from everywhere because the cost of entry just dropped considerably.
But the ruling is really about you.
Baseball cannot “own” the historical facts of its games, just as famous people can’t own the facts of their biographies or you can own the fact you purchased a pork chop last night.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a sucker willing to buy it.
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