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C.B.C. Distribution and Marketing, Inc. v. Major League Baseball Advanced Media, L.P.

United States Court of Appeals for Eighth Circuit
505 F.3d 818 (2007)


C.B.C. Distribution and Marketing, Inc. (C.B.C.) (plaintiff) sold fantasy sports products to consumers on the Internet, via e-mail, mail, and telephone which incorporated statistical and biographical information of actual major league baseball players. Prior to the start of a particular baseball season, customers would “draft” players from the various teams and compete against other players. Between 1995 and 2004, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) granted C.B.C. a license to use the “names, nicknames, likenesses, signatures, pictures, playing records, and/or biographical data of each player.” After their agreement expired, the MLBPA licensed the exclusive right, with some exceptions, to use players’ names and performance information to Major League Baseball Advanced Media, L.P. (Advanced Media) (defendant). Advanced Media then provided fantasy baseball games on its website, MLB.com. C.B.C. brought suit against Advanced Media seeking declaratory relief that it had the right to use, without license, the names and information of major league baseball players. Advanced Media counter-claimed, alleging C.B.C.’s fantasy products violated the players’ rights of publicity that it had been licensed by the MLBPA. The MLBPA joined the suit and raised breach of contract claims against C.B.C. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of C.B.C., and Advanced Media and the MBLPA appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Arnold, J.)

Dissent (Colloton, J.)

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