Who owns MLB stats?

Who owns an rbi?  Or a save? 

The ownership of major league baseball stats is coming into question in the guise of Intellectual Property.  I ran across an article on CNN last week in which a St Louis based company is asking a judge to stop the MLB from requiring licenses in order to use major league stats. 

CBC Distribution and Marketing argues that MLB stats are part of “history” and not property of the MLB and not subject to licensing. 

Hardball Times has a good article detailing the core points around the issue. 

According to HT’s article, fantasy baseball is a $1 billion business and MLB may want to cash in on some of that.

Cha-ching!

Details from HT’s article:

On Jan. 19, 2005, MLB Advanced Media and the MLB Players Association announced a historic agreement via press release:

The five-year agreement, valued in excess of $50 million, extends beyond the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLBPA. It provides MLBAM the exclusive rights to use, and to sublicense to others, Major League Baseball player group rights for the development and creation of on-line games, all other online content, including fantasy baseball and interactive games, as well as all wireless applications including cell-phone enabled games.

Like it or not, one can hardly blame the MLB.  It’s the logical next step for them to take.  That said, this could have big (and costly) implications for Internet-based companies that run fantasy leagues. 

Let’s hope the MLB doesn’t bite the hand that feeds them.

 

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