Fantasy League Decision Affirmed

Fantasy football and rotisserie baseball players rejoice! The Supreme Court has allowed fantasy sports websites to use the names and statistics of professional athletes without the permission of the sports leagues or players unions. In early June, the Supreme Court denied certiorari (meaning declined to hear the appeal), thereby allowing a decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to stand undisturbed. That decision, which was issued last October, held that professional athletes' names and statistics belong to the public domain, and under the First Amendment's freedom of speech guarantee, no permission is needed to compile, reproduce and rearrange such information in order to conduct a fantasy sports league. The lawsuit was a victory not only for the millions of fantasy sports players around the United States, but also for those websites that cater to these players for a profit. The losers were various entities associated with Major League Baseball and the players' union, who wanted to limit the number of fantasy league administrators by charging exorbitant license fees. Now, thanks to the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the appeal, no licenses are needed to run a league.

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