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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Fantasy sports geeks rejoice: player stats are fair game

That muffled applause you heard yesterday was the sound of cheering from idle office cubicles all over the country by fantasy sports players, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of an appeal from Major League Baseball Advanced Media and the MLB Players' Association.

The two groups wanted the high court to overturn lower court rulings in favor of CBC Distribution and Marketing Inc., the parent company of St. Louis-based CDM Fantasy Sports. CBC won a 2006 court case to gain legal protection from using Major League Baseball player names and statistics without a license.

MLBAM argued that the commercial use of such data without a license was a breach of its rights. It is estimated fantasy sports generate more than $1.5 billion annually from millions of participants.

The court’s denial means that earlier rulings allowing CDM Fantasy Sports to use players' names and statistics without a licensing fee remain intact. It also means that while you’re comparing Todd Helton’s on-base percentage to David Ortiz’s while you’re supposed to be working, the worst you have to fear is getting busted by your boss.

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