Major League Baseball Advanced Media, L.P.
, is a limited partnership of the club owners of Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...
, and is the internet and interactive branch of the league. The company operates the official web site for the league and 30 Major League Baseball club web sites via MLB.com
MLB.com is the official site of Major League Baseball and is overseen by Major League Baseball Advanced Media, L.P. . MLB.com is a source of baseball-related information, including baseball news, statistics, and sports columns...
, which draws four million hits per day. The site offers news, standings, statistics, and schedules, and subscribers have access to live audio and video broadcasts of most games. The site also employs reporters, with one assigned to each team for the season and others serving more general beats. MLB Advanced Media also owns and operates MLB Radio and BaseballChannel.TV.
MLBAM also runs and/or owns the official web sites of MiLB.com (Minor League Baseball)
, Yes Network
The Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network is a New York City-based, regional cable television channel; it broadcasts a variety of sports events, with an emphasis on New York Yankees baseball games, and New Jersey Nets basketball games. YES made its debut on March 19, 2002...
(The television broadcaster of the New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...
), SportsNet New York
SportsNet New York is a New York City-based regional sports cable network which airs in the New York metro area and all of New York state, and nationwide via satellite. It is owned jointly by the New York Mets, Time Warner Cable, and NBCUniversal...
(The television broadcaster of the New York Mets
The New York Mets are a professional baseball team based in the borough of Queens in New York City, New York. They belong to Major League Baseball's National League East Division. One of baseball's first expansion teams, the Mets were founded in 1962 to replace New York's departed National League...
), the World Championship Sports Network
, Guns N' Roses
, and rehearsals.com
. It also provided the backend infrastructure for Glenn Beck TV
, CBS Sportsline's March Madness
The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship is a single-elimination tournament held each spring in the United States, featuring 68 college basketball teams, to determine the national championship in the top tier of college basketball...
on Demand service and the ESPN 3 service .
MLBAM vs. CDM Legal Case
MLBAM signed a five-year, $50 million interactive rights deal with the MLB Players Association in 2005 to acquire most of the players' online rights, including fantasy sports. The deal exacerbated tension between fantasy sports companies and professional leagues and players associations over the rights to player profiles and statistics. The players associations of the major sports leagues believed that fantasy games using player names were subject to licensing due to the right of publicity of the players involved. During the 1980s and 1990s many companies signed licensing deals with the player associations, but many companies did not. The issue came to a head when MLBAM denied a fantasy baseball licensing agreement to St. Louis-based CBC Distribution and Marketing Inc., the parent company of CDM Sports. CBC filed suit as a result.
CBC argued that intellectual property laws and so-called "right of publicity" laws don't apply to the statistics used in fantasy sports. The FSTA
The Fantasy Sports Trade Association is the largest and oldest trade group representing the fantasy sports industry with over 120 members, including Matt ranging from small startups to large media corporations...
filed a friend of the court brief in support of CBC which argued that MLBAM's step to deny CBC a license was the first step to limit the number of companies in the market, that could result in MLBAM having a monopoly.
CBC won the lawsuit as U.S. District Court Judge Mary Ann Medler ruled that statistics are part of the public domain and can be used at no cost by fantasy companies. "The names and playing records of major-league baseball players as used in CBC's fantasy games are not copyrightable," Medler wrote. "Therefore, federal copyright law does not pre-empt the players' claimed right of publicity."
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision in October 2007. "It would be a strange law that a person would not have a First Amendment right to use information that is available to everyone," a three-judge panel said in its ruling.
On June 2, 2008, the United States Supreme Court denied MLB's petition for a writ of certiorari.
Certiorari is a type of writ seeking judicial review, recognized in U.S., Roman, English, Philippine, and other law. Certiorari is the present passive infinitive of the Latin certiorare...
MLBAM has lost nearly $2 million on the case and may now opt out of the agreement with the MLBPA and also faces the potential loss of millions of dollars of licensing fees from major media companies, such as Fox. ESPN opted out of a seven-year, $140 million deal with MLBAM after three years in Jan. 2008. The decision to opt out came less than three months after the CDM case was upheld on appeal as "ESPN thinks the court's decision means that it was paying a license fee for fantasy rights that others, such as CDM, were getting free."