In a move seen as a victory for fantasy sports companies, the Supreme Court today decided against hearing arguments in a dispute between Major League Baseball and fantasy operators, essentially allowing the companies to use player names and statistics without a license from baseball.
By failing to take up the case, the justices let stand a lower court ruling that said the fantasy companies had a First Amendment right to publish such information. MLB had argued that it has the right to control the use of player names, citing the players’ right to privacy.
The justices made no comments in rejecting a hearing on the issue.
The origins of the dispute stem from 2005, when MLB Advanced Media denied a license to CDM Fantasy Sports, a fantasy sports provider in St. Louis. CDM sued and proceeded to operate its fantasy sports games without a license. CDM prevailed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, and the verdict was upheld on appeal by the Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.
Several major sports leagues had filed “friend of the court” briefs in support of MLB.
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