The Supreme Court is weighing whether to hear an appeal from Major League Baseball that a lower court’s decision that fantasy baseball is protected speech should be overturned.

If you’re not following this story, the idea is that MLB recently decided that not only do they own their usual trademarks and copyrights pertaining to their brand, but they own every image, number, statistic, name, idea, and concept related to the professional sport, too.

They’ve been trying to shut down news reporters, bloggers, and columnists who cover games so that they can sell them the scores. They also want to shut down fantasy baseball so that, in their own words, they can make billions of dollars doing the same thing.

Their argument is the “Right of Publicity”, which prevents a company from using a celebrity’s name or image to sell a product. Despite common sense, this right has been used to bully trivia board game companies into removing trivia questions about particular people. MLB has conceded that people can know the scores after the game, but still argues that including players’ names in fantasy baseball is a violation.

Aside from the lower court’s ruling that this is not a case where right to publicity applies, the transparent greed of their position, not to mention that they are attacking their biggest fans when they try to squeeze money out of them – which is sure to backfire big time, the right of publicity has to be pursued, if desired, by the celebrity.

Does MLB represent the players when it sues fantasy football? Is all that money MLB plans to make doing their own version going to end up in the pockets of the players? I don’t think so.


Update: The appeal was rejected (source)