SBD/Issue 111/Law & Politics

MLBAM, MLBPA File Petition With Supreme Court Over CDM Ruling

MLBAM, MLBPA File Petition To
Supreme Court Over CDM Ruling
MLBAM and the MLBPA, as expected, have filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to overturn its district and appeals court defeats in the ongoing CDM Fantasy Sports case. The pair's filing to the Supreme Court argues that a series of prior lower court rulings involving First Amendment and right of publicity issues have created an inconsistent mess, and that "the appropriate legal test for balancing state-law publicity rights and First Amendment interest is a recurring and important question on which this Court's instruction is needed. ... The same use of a famous person's identity will be unlawful or constitutionally protected depending upon which jurisdiction first addresses that use an outcome that is fundamentally unfair, particularly to national businesses." The 41-page filing was made February 22 and docketed yesterday. CDM, in the landmark fantasy sports battle, won the right to the use of player names and statistics in commercial games without a license. Getting the case heard before the Supreme Court requires approval from at least four of the nine judges. The vast majority of petitions for a writ of certiorari are denied, particularly for civil cases such as this, and MLBAM and the union are seeking to improve their chances by arguing to the broader need of a uniform standard for right of publicity disputes. CDM has the option of responding to the petition up to March 27, thought it has not yet decided whether it will do so.

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