February 21, 2006

Baseball Statistics and Free Speech

Posted by Eric Jaffa
Thursday January 19th 2006, 6:45 am
Filed under: Free Speech, Free Press, Courts

From Kevin of Lean Left:

On Tuesday, I heard Keith Olbermann talking about MLB suing some stats provider. MLBs claim was apparently that the stats and statistical profiles of major league players were the property of MLB and the players association. They were arguing not that a particular record of the stats was protected under the country’s IP laws, but that all stats everywhere were.

…MLB is arguing that they own the statistics to all baseball games, no matter who records them or in what format they are recorded. Your scorecards form the game, the USA Today box scores, and the ESPN scroll all belong to MBL under this line of reasoning. I sincerely hope that I am either misunderstanding their argument or that this will get laughed out of court.

The fact that it got this far, however, is another black mark against our intellectual property laws. In our intellectual property regime, it is possible to patent a gene…and MLB is arguing that it is possible to copyright not a particular recording of a historical event but the actual event itself. How did we get to the point where this kind of nonsense is actually advanced by a reputable law firm?

The AP has more:

A company that runs sports fantasy leagues is asking a federal court to decide whether major leaguers’ batting averages and home run counts are historical facts that can be used freely or property that can be sold.

No Comments so far

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Your e-mail address is never displayed. Basic HTML is allowed. Including more than one link makes you look like a spammer and will cause your comment to be held in moderation.