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View Full Version : Bud Selig Penny wise / Pound Foolish - Lawsuit to challenge stat usage


SouthSide_HitMen
01-16-2006, 08:38 AM
Fantasy Baseball adds fans to the game (something Bud Selig had trouble doing as owner of the Milwaukee Brewers). I can't see MLB winning this case. Ironically, they will come out ahead by losing the case.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060115/ap_on_sp_ba_ne/baseball_statistics_lawsuit

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.

In a lawsuit that could affect the pastime of an estimated 16 million people, CBC Distribution and Marketing wants the judge to stop Major League Baseball from requiring a license to use the statistics.

The company claims baseball statistics become historical facts as soon as the game is over, so it shouldn't have to pay for the right to use them.

downstairs
01-16-2006, 08:56 AM
Wasn't this already decided years and years ago with Stats, Inc.?

I don't understand the difference?

Now, if you're actually copying data from a source (MLB, third party, etc.) that's wrong- essentially stealing.

But if the stuff is compiled on its own, I believe it has been decided than an "account of a game" is essentially public property. Or, not "property" at all.

TornLabrum
01-16-2006, 09:01 AM
Wasn't this already decided years and years ago with Stats, Inc.?

I don't understand the difference?

Now, if you're actually copying data from a source (MLB, third party, etc.) that's wrong- essentially stealing.

But if the stuff is compiled on its own, I believe it has been decided than an "account of a game" is essentially public property. Or, not "property" at all.

Big question, and I don't know the answer: Do newspapers pay MLB for the right to publish box scores? Anyone can figure out stats just by using a calculator and the box scores of all the games played. Perhaps the fantasy leagues should look into compiling their own stats this way.

HomeFish
01-16-2006, 09:06 AM
I'm told that in Britain, soccer teams actually copyright the dates of games, and fansites have been shut down because they list team schedules.

Bets on when Selig tries to pull that one here?

HomeFish
01-16-2006, 09:08 AM
But if the stuff is compiled on its own, I believe it has been decided than an "account of a game" is essentially public property. Or, not "property" at all.

The accounts and descriptions of this game may not be

:farmer
"disseminated"

without the express written consent of Major League Baseball and the Chicago White Sox radio network.

Flight #24
01-16-2006, 09:20 AM
Actually, the way I understand this issue, the thread title is 100% off. It's not Selig suing anyone - it's the stat company suing baseball to make stats free.

And I think you can include stats in "accounts and descriptions", so you're talking about making the whole damn telecast free - ain't happening.

SouthSide_HitMen
01-16-2006, 09:34 AM
Actually, the way I understand this issue, the thread title is 100% off. It's not Selig suing anyone - it's the stat company suing baseball to make stats free.

And I think you can include stats in "accounts and descriptions", so you're talking about making the whole damn telecast free - ain't happening.

The title is not off - The Lawsuit challenges MLB's policy.The title doesn't say MLB was suing.

There are two ways to look at this issue which is why there is a lawsuit. The more people following the game adds revenue and exposure. MLB is again on the wrong side of an issue. Bill Veeck is laughing at this in his grave.

Iwritecode
01-16-2006, 09:41 AM
Fantasy Baseball adds fans Bud not that he know about adding fans during his reign as owner of the Milwaukee Brewers.

I'm sorry this is a little :offtopic: but what the hell are you trying to say here? I'm not even sure that can be considered a sentence...

Ol' No. 2
01-16-2006, 09:49 AM
Actually, the way I understand this issue, the thread title is 100% off. It's not Selig suing anyone - it's the stat company suing baseball to make stats free.

And I think you can include stats in "accounts and descriptions", so you're talking about making the whole damn telecast free - ain't happening.One or more of the lawyers on this site can correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that once a copyrighted material has been allowed to enter the public domain, it's no longer protected. That's why companies are so vigilant about their copyrighted trademark names. Kleenex, Jello and other names are no longer protected because they fell into common usage. Once it's in the public domain you can't ever get it back again.

Box scores have been printed in newspapers since baseball started, and they don't pay a licensing fee to publish that information, which puts it in the public domain. Other statistics have long been published without MLB objecting. This case has loser written all over it.

SouthSide_HitMen
01-16-2006, 09:54 AM
One or more of the lawyers on this site can correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that once a copyrighted material has been allowed to enter the public domain, it's no longer protected. That's why companies are so vigilant about their copyrighted trademark names. Kleenex, Jello and other names are no longer protected because they fell into common usage. Once it's in the public domain you can't ever get it back again.

Box scores have been printed in newspapers since baseball started, and they don't pay a licensing fee to publish that information, which puts it in the public domain. Other statistics have long been published without MLB objecting. This case has loser written all over it.


This article provides further legal commentary about the issues at stake:

http://www.legalaffairs.org/issues/November-December-2005/argument_schwarz_novdec05.msp

In 1996, several former major leaguers—most notably Al Gionfriddo, a former Brooklyn Dodger and 1947 World Series hero—sued baseball in California state court over baseball's use of his name and statistics in materials like videos and game programs. He claimed such use violated his right to publicity. Baseball argued successfully that it had a right to use the information under the principle of freedom of the press. The California Court of Appeal agreed with baseball, ruling that the First Amendment protected "mere recitations of the players' accomplishments," and that the public was "entitled to be informed and entertained about our history." The court also agreed that baseball was not advertising any product but presenting historical facts—just as CBC's fantasy games are not advertisements, the company argues, but presentations of historical facts. That baseball seemingly flip-flopped on this issue has not been lost on anyone involved in the CBC case.

I agree with you No 2.

Iwritecode - I corrected the sentence. :redface:

Flight #24
01-16-2006, 10:03 AM
The title is not off - The Lawsuit challenges MLB's policy.The title doesn't say MLB was suing.

There are two ways to look at this issue which is why there is a lawsuit. The more people following the game adds revenue and exposure. MLB is again on the wrong side of an issue. Bill Veeck is laughing at this in his grave.

You're right, it was my implication from the title that MLB was doing the suing.

While I agree that fantasy baseball generates a ton of fans, this company wants to take data from MLB, get it for free, and resell it. Nice business model, if you can get it. You can argue all day about the legality/public domain issues, but IMO, baseball's not exactly being dumb here. Companies are and will pay for this data - so it's not like MLB is trying to kill fantasy sports. I don't believe there are any leagues that give away data for free.

It's similar to me taking pictures of players, or making jerseys with their names on them, and selling them without paying anything to the player who makes the name saleable. It wouldn't be stupid for them to request I share the $$ or desist. And it's not stupid for MLB to make the same request.

SouthSide_HitMen
01-16-2006, 10:25 AM
You're right, it was my implication from the title that MLB was doing the suing.

While I agree that fantasy baseball generates a ton of fans, this company wants to take data from MLB, get it for free, and resell it. Nice business model, if you can get it. You can argue all day about the legality/public domain issues, but IMO, baseball's not exactly being dumb here. Companies are and will pay for this data - so it's not like MLB is trying to kill fantasy sports. I don't believe there are any leagues that give away data for free.

It's similar to me taking pictures of players, or making jerseys with their names on them, and selling them without paying anything to the player who makes the name saleable. It wouldn't be stupid for them to request I share the $$ or desist. And it's not stupid for MLB to make the same request.

Per the Legal Affairs article, the MLB players association owns the rights to their identities (which is why MLB paid the players association $50 mil to acquire rights such as the players likeness). MLB owns the rights to merchandise their trademarked apparel.

The issue is the legality of using statistics which do go into the public domain after the game is over and the stats / box scores are published. MLB arbitrarily picked five companies last year which they would allow to "legally" use the stats leaving hundreds of companies out of the loop (and potentially out of business) which is why CBC is suing (they are not one of the five).

Yahoo is one of the websites authorized by MLB to conduct fantasy sports. They offer a free version (which I played) and one you must pay for full "commissioner" tools. I was in a private league on CBS' site and they also offer a "free" game. I am not fimilar with the other sites (I know ESPN and Sporting News offered games as well).

MLB.com is worth approximately $2.5 billion and I do agree it is very wise for MLB to protect its investments. Broadcasting games and achieves, selling merchandise including game tickets for a fee has become a huge revenue source for the league. However, thousands of sites do publish both historic and current statistics without paying compensation to MLB.

in 1997, Motorola was sued by the NBA for giving live game statistical updates via their phone network. The NBA lost the case. The TV and broadcast rights as well as images from the games are owned by the NBA. However, game scores and statistics were ruled news and not subject to copyright.

ilsox7
01-16-2006, 10:32 AM
My gut instinct as only a fraction of a lawyer is leaning toward CBC on this one, but I am going to bring it up to my property professor this week and see what he says. Lots of interesting issues going on.

Ol' No. 2
01-16-2006, 11:14 AM
The TV and broadcast rights as well as images from the games are owned by the NBA. However, game scores and statistics were ruled news and not subject to copyright.This is, I think, the key point. Game broadcasts and images are owned by the players and their teams and leagues. That's true for all sports, not just baseball. What they did is a historical fact and not subject to copyright. In law, precedent is everything, and in this case all the precedents seem to be against MLB. Having allowed public dissemination of this information for decades, they can't now claim to own it.

Flight #24
01-16-2006, 11:16 AM
Yahoo is one of the websites authorized by MLB to conduct fantasy sports. They offer a free version (which I played) and one you must pay for full "commissioner" tools. I was in a private league on CBS' site and they also offer a "free" game. I am not fimilar with the other sites (I know ESPN and Sporting News offered games as well).


Yahoo makes a lot of money off of providing "free" content, so whether or not the consumer pays for it isn't a differentiating point.

That doesn't change any of the other arguments regarding precedent, public domain, etc though.

ilsox7
01-16-2006, 11:16 AM
This is, I think, the key point. Game broadcasts and images are owned by the players and their teams and leagues. That's true for all sports, not just baseball. What they did is a historical fact and not subject to copyright. In law, precedent is everything, and in this case all the precedents seem to be against MLB. Having allowed public dissemination of this information for decades, they can't now claim to own it.

Just a general point. While precedent certainly means a whole lot, it is not necessarily everything. I agree with your point, but just wanted to clarify.

Ol' No. 2
01-16-2006, 12:25 PM
Just a general point. While precedent certainly means a whole lot, it is not necessarily everything. I agree with your point, but just wanted to clarify.Duly noted, counselor (almost).:cool: Otherwise, Plessy v. Ferguson would still be the law of the land.

ilsox7
01-16-2006, 12:31 PM
Duly noted, counselor (almost).:cool: Otherwise, Plessy v. Ferguson would still be the law of the land.

Yes...and there would be a lot of crazy things going on in our country!

DenverSock
01-16-2006, 01:06 PM
It's similar to me taking pictures of players, or making jerseys with their names on them, and selling them without paying anything to the player who makes the name saleable. It wouldn't be stupid for them to request I share the $$ or desist. And it's not stupid for MLB to make the same request.



Exactly, and as a person who has been a press photographer I can tell you if I take a picture of a player, whether playing or not, it's my photo, I'm the author under copyright law, and I can sell it for money without sharing a dime. It's not the same as Jerseys which involve trademarks. The same holds true, in fact is legally exactly the same for celebrity paparazzi.

On the other hand, if I use a model, I need to pay him, and arrange for a release of rights in one way or another, usually a signed waiver. But once I do, once again it's my photo, and I have the right to sell it as my work.

ilsox7
01-16-2006, 01:22 PM
Exactly, and as a person who has been a press photographer I can tell you if I take a picture of a player, whether playing or not, it's my photo, I'm the author under copyright law, and I can sell it for money without sharing a dime. It's not the same as Jerseys which involve trademarks. The same holds true, in fact is legally exactly the same for celebrity paparazzi.

On the other hand, if I use a model, I need to pay him, and arrange for a release of rights in one way or another, usually a signed waiver. But once I do, once again it's my photo, and I have the right to sell it as my work.

I'll preface this by again saying I'm not a lawyer (yet :cool:), but I have studied IP law to some degree (mostly on my own) and think that, generally, this is correct. There are times when a photographer would not own the rights to his photo, but I don't see these scenarios being one of those times.

Now, in the instance of paparazzi, the line starts to become more blurred. For instance, I think there is currently a case being litigated over pictures taken by a member of the paparazzi of a celebrity in the privacy of their home. IIRC, the celebrity claims that there was no way the picture could have been snapped without the photographer invading their privacy and therefore the photographer does not own any rights to the picture and in turn, cannot sell it. But in terms of a baseball game, taking place in the public domain, a photographer should own those rights under almost every circumstance.

I also know we have several lawyers on the board, at least one of which has done IP work, so their comments/opinions obviously would trump mine.

Ol' No. 2
01-16-2006, 01:33 PM
I'll preface this by again saying I'm not a lawyer (yet :cool:), but I have studied IP law to some degree (mostly on my own) and think that, generally, this is correct. There are times when a photographer would not own the rights to his photo, but I don't see these scenarios being one of those times.

Now, in the instance of paparazzi, the line starts to become more blurred. For instance, I think there is currently a case being litigated over pictures taken by a member of the paparazzi of a celebrity in the privacy of their home. IIRC, the celebrity claims that there was no way the picture could have been snapped without the photographer invading their privacy and therefore the photographer does not own any rights to the picture and in turn, cannot sell it. But in terms of a baseball game, taking place in the public domain, a photographer should own those rights under almost every circumstance.

I also know we have several lawyers on the board, at least one of which has done IP work, so their comments/opinions obviously would trump mine.The game doesn't take place in a public domain. It takes place on private property and one has to buy a ticket to see it. They would be completely within their rights to prohibit people from taking pictures as is commonly done in movies and concerts. But since there's no expressed prohibition and because it's commonly allowed, they can't decide after the fact that the pictures belong to them.

A key is that for many years they've allowed it to be freely disseminated and taken no action to prevent it. This implies that you didn't consider it your property in the past and makes it a lot harder to suddenly try to claim and enforce property rights in the future.

ilsox7
01-16-2006, 01:58 PM
The game doesn't take place in a public domain. It takes place on private property and one has to buy a ticket to see it. They would be completely within their rights to prohibit people from taking pictures as is commonly done in movies and concerts. But since there's no expressed prohibition and because it's commonly allowed, they can't decide after the fact that the pictures belong to them.

A key is that for many years they've allowed it to be freely disseminated and taken no action to prevent it. This implies that you didn't consider it your property in the past and makes it a lot harder to suddenly try to claim and enforce property rights in the future.
Actually, in this case, public domain refers to a person's reasonable expectation of privacy and the fact that there are photos of the players already available in the public domain. My point was that the players have no reasonable expectation of privacy and therefore are in the public domain. Also, the fact that a baseball game is played on private property does not necessarily mean photos taken at the game would not be part of the public domain. In fact, paparazzi legally make a living of taking photographs of celebrities on private property all of the time.

Ol' No. 2
01-16-2006, 02:11 PM
Actually, in this case, public domain refers to a person's reasonable expectation of privacy and the fact that there are photos of the players already available in the public domain. My point was that the players have no reasonable expectation of privacy and therefore are in the public domain. Also, the fact that a baseball game is played on private property does not necessarily mean photos taken at the game would not be part of the public domain. In fact, paparazzi legally make a living of taking photographs of celebrities on private property all of the time.It's not really a privacy matter. Cameras and recording equipment are routinely prohibited at concerts and movie theatres. It's a condition of use of the ticket. I don't see why this should be any different except that it hasn't been done in the past.

The big stumbling block for CBC is that they've been paying the MLBPA a licensing fee. How can they now claim that they don't need to do so?

downstairs
01-16-2006, 02:12 PM
Actually, in this case, public domain refers to a person's reasonable expectation of privacy and the fact that there are photos of the players already available in the public domain. My point was that the players have no reasonable expectation of privacy and therefore are in the public domain. Also, the fact that a baseball game is played on private property does not necessarily mean photos taken at the game would not be part of the public domain. In fact, paparazzi legally make a living of taking photographs of celebrities on private property all of the time.

Let me take this a step further. Again, I'm not a lawyer.

I think a key point is what you do with the image of the player you take. If you take a photo of a player, and then use it to somehow make it seem like he is endorsing your product, that is infringement.

But if you merely sell or give away the photo, you're probably OK... because the player did not expect privacy.

All of this being said, a photo is a more obvious issue. Stats are another thing entirely... what are they exactly? Are they a historical fact? Are they property?

downstairs
01-16-2006, 02:14 PM
The big stumbling block for CBC is that they've been paying the MLBPA a licensing fee. How can they now claim that they don't need to do so?

They aren't necessarily. They were happy to pay the licensing fee. But MLB no longer even offered it to them.

Thus, their options were limited. You can't exactly sue because someone WON'T sell something to you.

However, on the other hand... the fact that they paid the licensing fee shows that they acknowledge that the stuff they were buying was, indeed, MLB's property at some point. Otherwise, they wouldn't have agreed to pay for it and "should" have sued to get it for free before all of this.

ilsox7
01-16-2006, 02:18 PM
It's not really a privacy matter. Cameras and recording equipment are routinely prohibited at concerts and movie theatres. It's a condition of use of the ticket. I don't see why this should be any different except that it hasn't been done in the past.

The big stumbling block for CBC is that they've been paying the MLBPA a licensing fee. How can they now claim that they don't need to do so?

OK, I think we are talking about different things. My post that you quoted was in reference to DenverSock's post about photographs of athletes/celebrities. So privacy was, in fact, an issue.

As for the statistics, I'd have to read some more into the facts of the case to make a somewhat educated opinion.

Ol' No. 2
01-16-2006, 02:19 PM
They aren't necessarily. They were happy to pay the licensing fee. But MLB no longer even offered it to them.

Thus, their options were limited. You can't exactly sue because someone WON'T sell something to you.

However, on the other hand... the fact that they paid the licensing fee shows that they acknowledge that the stuff they were buying was, indeed, MLB's property at some point. Otherwise, they wouldn't have agreed to pay for it and "should" have sued to get it for free before all of this.That's what makes this case odd. On the one hand, CBC has been paying for it, tacitly acknowledging MLB's property rights. OTOH, statistics are freely disseminated in newspapers, websites and all sorts of places, and MLB has allowed this for a hundred years, tacitly acknowledging that it has no property rights to this information. Now each is claiming the opposite.:o:

MarySwiss
01-16-2006, 02:22 PM
This is, I think, the key point. Game broadcasts and images are owned by the players and their teams and leagues. That's true for all sports, not just baseball. What they did is a historical fact and not subject to copyright. In law, precedent is everything, and in this case all the precedents seem to be against MLB. Having allowed public dissemination of this information for decades, they can't now claim to own it.

Once again hitting the nail on the head, Ol' No. 2.

I'm not a lawyer nor have I ever played one on television, but I have spent a lot of years working in publishing, and it is true that you cannot copyright a fact. (You can, however, copyright intellectual property, i.e., the way a fact is presented.) Statistics are facts. Broadcasts would be considered intellectual property. And, as DenverSock pointed out, so would a photograph taken by him (or her).

ilsox7
01-16-2006, 02:34 PM
Once again hitting the nail on the head, Ol' No. 2.

I'm not a lawyer nor have I ever played one on television, but I have spent a lot of years working in publishing, and it is true that you cannot copyright a fact. (You can, however, copyright intellectual property, i.e., the way a fact is presented.) Statistics are facts. Broadcasts would be considered intellectual property. And, as DenverSock pointed out, so would a photograph taken by him (or her).
And the legal back-up for this is:
But the news element--the information respecting current events contained in the literary production--is not the creation of the writer, but is a report of matters that ordinarily are publici juris; it is the history of the day. It is not to be supposed that the framers of the Constitution, when they empowered Congress 'to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries' (Const. art. 1, § 8, par. 8), intended to confer upon one who might happen to be the first to report a historic event the exclusive right for any period to spread the knowledge of it.
Besides, except for matters improperly disclosed, or published in breach of trust or confidence, or in violation of law, none of which is involved in this brance of the case, the news of current events may be regarded as common property.
Note to mods: Quotes are taken from a rather long legal decision. (INTERNATIONAL NEWS SERVICE v. ASSOCIATED PRESS, 248 U.S. 215 (1918))

FedEx227
01-16-2006, 11:08 PM
I guess pro sports leagues hate free publicity.

The site I work for that some WSIers frequent www.wcremix.com recently got an e-mail from an organization called CAPs, a company formed by all the major sport leagues to prevent logo usage for profit, stating that we could no longer make wallpapers with any logos from any professional sporting team. Which is just ridiculous because none of the 15 or so members of the crew of wallpaper makers has ever made a single dime off the site, if anything we've lost maintaing domain names, etc.

We then e-mailed them asking why we should be shut down if we make no profit and if all we're doing is promoting the leagues. Their response was that other people were making profit by printing OUR walls onto t-shirts and selling them. And apparently we're to blame for that. It's a real shame Metallica gets fined anytime somebody downloads one of their songs.

What is with pro-sports? Don't they understand free promotion? Fantasy baseball is on the absolute rise, and it couldn't be better for major league baseball and baseball in general. All it means is more money, more magazines, more web-site hits, and even more merchandise sales, sometimes people will fall in love with a guy they have on their fantasy team and buy jerseys and hats they normally wouldn't buy. I know its in its infant stages but MLB would be EXTREMELY boneheaded to go through with this.

Ol' No. 2
01-17-2006, 08:54 AM
I guess pro sports leagues hate free publicity.

The site I work for that some WSIers frequent www.wcremix.com (http://www.wcremix.com) recently got an e-mail from an organization called CAPs, a company formed by all the major sport leagues to prevent logo usage for profit, stating that we could no longer make wallpapers with any logos from any professional sporting team. Which is just ridiculous because none of the 15 or so members of the crew of wallpaper makers has ever made a single dime off the site, if anything we've lost maintaing domain names, etc.

We then e-mailed them asking why we should be shut down if we make no profit and if all we're doing is promoting the leagues. Their response was that other people were making profit by printing OUR walls onto t-shirts and selling them. And apparently we're to blame for that. It's a real shame Metallica gets fined anytime somebody downloads one of their songs.

What is with pro-sports? Don't they understand free promotion? Fantasy baseball is on the absolute rise, and it couldn't be better for major league baseball and baseball in general. All it means is more money, more magazines, more web-site hits, and even more merchandise sales, sometimes people will fall in love with a guy they have on their fantasy team and buy jerseys and hats they normally wouldn't buy. I know its in its infant stages but MLB would be EXTREMELY boneheaded to go through with this.The issue here is trademark protection. It's very tricky. Companies have lost their trademark rights (Kleenex, Jello) because they didn't protect the trademark name and it fell into common usage. If you don't protect it consistently, it opens the door for other people to use the trademarked items.

DenverSock
01-17-2006, 09:51 AM
The issue here is trademark protection. It's very tricky. Companies have lost their trademark rights (Kleenex, Jello) because they didn't protect the trademark name and it fell into common usage. If you don't protect it consistently, it opens the door for other people to use the trademarked items.
Sorry Ol' No.2, the issue isn't trademarks, it's copyrights which is related. Trademarks involve physical merchandise, copyrights involve information and authorship, which usually means writings, but not exclusively. The field is a subfield of Intelectual Property, which gtrowing by leaps and bounds. IP also includes patents.

The reason this is important is that while Kleenex is no longer trademarked, copyrights involve more than logos, designs, and brand names. If MLB succeded in copyrighting information, as oppossed to trademarking a branded information, they could control not only distribution but the aftermarket, which is what they really want.


Note to Mary Swiss: I'm male. I thought you knew that.

Ol' No. 2
01-17-2006, 09:58 AM
Sorry Ol' No.2, the issue isn't trademarks, it's copyrights which is related. Trademarks involve physical merchandise, copyrights involve information and authorship, which usually means writings, but not exclusively. The field is a subfield of Intelectual Property, which gtrowing by leaps and bounds. IP also includes patents.

The reason this is important is that while Kleenex is no longer trademarked, copyrights involve more than logos, designs, and brand names. If MLB succeded in copyrighting information, as oppossed to trademarking a branded information, they could control not only distribution but the aftermarket, which is what they really want.


Note to Mary Swiss: I'm male. I thought you knew that.In relation to FedEx's question earlier, isn't a logo covered as a trademark? My understanding is that the level of vigilance required for protection of a trademark is greater than for copyrighted materials. Correct?

DenverSock
01-17-2006, 10:06 AM
In relation to FedEx's question earlier, isn't a logo covered as a trademark? My understanding is that the level of vigilance required for protection of a trademark is greater than for copyrighted materials. Correct?
One, I'm not a lawyer and as others have said, I don't even play one on TV. I do know a trademark needs greater vigilance. Yes logos are trademarked. You can lose it as Kleenex, Xerox, and a whole bunch of others have. I also know that companies have attempted to trademark commonly used phrases as slogans with mixed success. The one to ask is ilsox7. He seems to know more than we do and seems to have access to his law school professors. In addition, any one particular case could go either way depending on arguments and courts.

I assumed you were referring to the original case which started this thread. If that's not the case I'm sorry.

MarySwiss
01-17-2006, 10:39 AM
Sorry Ol' No.2, the issue isn't trademarks, it's copyrights which is related. Trademarks involve physical merchandise, copyrights involve information and authorship, which usually means writings, but not exclusively. The field is a subfield of Intelectual Property, which gtrowing by leaps and bounds. IP also includes patents.

The reason this is important is that while Kleenex is no longer trademarked, copyrights involve more than logos, designs, and brand names. If MLB succeded in copyrighting information, as oppossed to trademarking a branded information, they could control not only distribution but the aftermarket, which is what they really want.


Note to Mary Swiss: I'm male. I thought you knew that.

Sorry, DenverSock. I assumed you were male, but I've had one or two people on this list assume that I am--despite the name Mary--so I take no chances. :smile:

DenverSock
01-17-2006, 11:59 AM
Sorry, DenverSock. I assumed you were male, but I've had one or two people on this list assume that I am--despite the name Mary--so I take no chances. :smile:

No offense taken.