MLB’s Attack On Fan-Created Podcasts

At the request of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Apple removed several baseball-related podcasts from iTunes on Wednesday. HardballTalk broke the news Wednesday morning when Aaron Gleeman, one of HBT’s lead writers, learned that his Minnesota Twins-related podcast known as “Gleeman and the Gleek” had been taken down by Apple. By midday, the list had grown to include another Twins-related podcast “Talk to Contact,” a Yankees-themed podcast on the site “It’s About The Money, Stupid,” and the Cubs-centered podcast on “Bleacher Nation,” among others. Awful Announcing catalogued the reaction on social media, which was swift, fierce and uniformly negative.

MLBAM publicly released the letter it Apple after news of the podcast takedowns spread. HardballTalk published it:

As we have done in the past, yesterday we notified Apple about certain podcasts on the iTunes Store whose titles and/or thumbnails include infringing uses of trademarks of Major League Baseball and certain Clubs.  And, as we have done in the past, we asked Apple to have these trademarks removed from the podcast titles and thumbnails. Although we did not ask for or seek to have any podcast removed from the Store, it has come to our attention that Apple removed them.   Given our many years of experience in notifying Apple about trademark issues on the Store, we trust that removing the podcasts was an oversight, and ask that you please look into this matter as soon as possible.

Thank you for your cooperation.

This is nonsense.

Like many trademark owners, MLBAM and the 30 MLB clubs do not like to see their name or logo or other distinguishing feature used by a third party. They claim that such use infringes or dilutes their registered trademark. But legally, a reference to MLB or an MLB team doesn’t infringe a trademark unless it’s used in a way that is likely to cause confusion. And dilution occurs only when a nationally-recognized mark is tarnished when used by a third party for its own purposes.

Also, under the fair use doctrine, courts have consistently held that third parties can use a trademark in their materials as a reference if avoiding the trademark name isn’t easy or realistic. In other words, it’s perfectly fine for “Gleeman and the Gleek” to describe their podcast as about “the professional baseball team that plays in Minneapolis” but that gets cumbersome pretty quickly. So the law says it’s okay to describe the podcast as relating to the Minnesota Twins.

MLBAM is bullying these fan-driven podcasts because it has the resources to do so, even if the law doesn’t support its claims. Apple’s decision to take the podcasts down — as opposed to notifying the podcast creators that MLBAM had raised a claim of infringement — likely speaks to the strong business relationship between the two companies. MLBAM’s At Bat app is one the ten highest grossing iTunes apps of all time.

Whatever the legal issues, however, MLBAM’s effort to crack down on fan-created podcasts flies in the face of the league’s efforts to attract and keep new and younger fans. We’ve all seen the numbers. Baseball fans — folks who watch games on TV, listen to games on the radio, and buy tickets and merchandise — tend to skew older than fans of other professional sports. That’s why MLB launched the Fan Cave — to give baseball a hip, edgy look and feel that would attract younger fans.

Leave the podcasts alone, MLB. Even if you win, it’s short-gain for long-term pain.



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Wendy writes about sports and the business of sports. She's been published most recently by Vice Sports, Deadspin and NewYorker.com. You can find her work at wendythurm.pressfolios.com and follow her on Twitter @hangingsliders.


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Steve
Guest
Steve
2 years 17 days ago

Never seen a company so interested in keeping people from promotion and viewing their product…

Steve
Guest
Steve
2 years 17 days ago

*promoting

John Elway
Member
2 years 16 days ago

The only exception to that rule is the NFL licensing the “Super Bowl” name so folks have to call it “The Big Game” or whatever. That’s because the Super Bowl is so damn huge, things like this won’t stop it.

But the suits running major leagues don’t understand the value of letting things market themselves. Baseball might be the worst offender out there (not a fan of the Fan Cave).

Daniel George
Guest
2 years 17 days ago

Nintendo (part owners of the Mariners). You can’t make videos of their gaming products on Youtube without them copyright-claiming your content and making 100% of the money on your ad revenue for those videos.

In sports, there is no other case like this.

Steve
Guest
Steve
2 years 17 days ago

Right, and Nintendo’s not exactly a company bathing in success or intelligence, not really a model I’d want to emulate…

nd
Guest
nd
2 years 16 days ago

But did you hear about the new Wii Glue that came out last week? It’s a new console with the power of the old ones but at least your kids can play

MikeS
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MikeS
2 years 17 days ago

They seem far more interested in controlling the message than receiving free advertising. It seems pretty stupid to me too.

Ben
Member
Ben
2 years 17 days ago

Nice article. Could you possibly comment as to why MLB is doing this? Specifically, how is it in the self-interest of MLB to squeeze these sorts of podcasts out of the market through these aggressive tactics? Do they compete with products that MLB offers? The whole thing is written as if MLB is just being ornery for the heck of it…

Also, “MLBAM publicly released the letter it Apple after news of the podcast takedowns spread.” Is “sent” missing?

Book_Worm
Guest
Book_Worm
2 years 17 days ago

My guess would be for the purposes of controlling their image. I am guessing that MLB doesn’t want an unaffiliated podcast to say something or create a controversy that could, by proximity, give MLB a black eye.

IMO, it’s a terrible and shortsighted tactic, as Wendy suggests.

szielinski
Member
Member
szielinski
2 years 17 days ago

How would we know when an unaffiliated podcast said something which gave MLB a black eye when its eyes have been made permanently black by the repeated self-application of a stick to each eye?

JRM
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JRM
2 years 17 days ago

You just have a different <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGArqoF0TpQ"epistimological paradigm.

JRM
Guest
JRM
2 years 17 days ago

Biffed the html.

You just have a different epistemological paradigm.

(See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGArqoF0TpQ)

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 16 days ago

tip with the hyperlink element: bold the linked text. These comments don’t change the color of linked text.

So no one would think to click on this.

But they might click on this.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 16 days ago

Excellent tip. But one of your two uses of “this” should be a rickroll.

SabathiaWouldBeGoodAtTheEighthToo
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SabathiaWouldBeGoodAtTheEighthToo
2 years 17 days ago

MLB and the teams tend to crack down on any unofficial use of their marks. Even if they have no compelling reason, they generally enforce their trademark rights as aggressively as they can. It is like the empty seats in Yankee Stadium: it would cost the team nothing to allow the fans in the cheap seats to come sit in some empty field level seats, but they won’t because they wont.

vivalajeter
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vivalajeter
2 years 17 days ago

It would cost them future ticket sales. If they allowed people to sit in the better seats, then people would be less likely to buy a field level seat the next time they go to the ballpark, knowing that they can buy a cheap seat and sit near the field.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 16 days ago

As someone who has worked at a large theater, it could be hell on the ushering staff. You couldn’t let anyone down until it’s clear no one is showing up for the better seats. The ushers would have little way of knowing which seats are available.

B N
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B N
2 years 16 days ago

@Bip: Actually, in this day and age, with assigned seating, it should be entirely trivial to know which seats are available. Tickets are sold with seats. Tickets are scanned on entry. Scanned entries can be registered in a DB. A DB can be transmitted to a portable device (such as the portable credit card processors already in use in many parks by concession sellers).

Personally, I wouldn’t leave it to the ushers, but I might have some form of raffle where people already in the park can request free upgrades and get a text message with their new seat assignment if no one has taken that seat in the park by the 4rth inning. This would cost no sales, plus would help fill out better seats that improve the park’s image during TV broadcast. Nobody likes shots of a park where 50% of the seats behind home plate are empty because a bunch of rich season-ticket holders decided they didn’t want to see their home town team pound on the Astros.

Frank
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Frank
2 years 17 days ago

US trademark law incentives companies to police their marks strictly. If you let your trademark slip into public usage without challenging it than that can be used as evidence that you no longer posses a trademark.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_trademark#Avoiding_genericization

What MLB is doing is stupid, but the law makes companies feel like they have to do this or risk losing a valuable trademark.

dl80
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dl80
2 years 16 days ago

But that only applies to things like not letting a TV show get away with a character saying “Band-Aid” when it is really “generic store brand flesh-colored adhesive.” It has nothing to do with someone talking about their product, especially when there isn’t an alternative.

The character on the show could talk about the Tesla or another TV show (which Big Bang Theory does all the time) because there is only one of that product. There is nothing to confuse it with.

B N
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B N
2 years 16 days ago

Indeed. Is the MLB going to claim that someone is going to think that Twins are a generic name for a baseball team? (As opposed to a name for a generic baseball team?)

A: “Hey man, I saw some Twins play last night!”
B: “Oh yah, which Twins?”
A: “The Red Sox, it was great!”

Bill Cosby
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Bill Cosby
2 years 17 days ago

Oh,oh-oh! You see, the kids these days, they listen to the podcasts, which gives them the brain damage. With the hippin’ and the hoppin’ and the bippin’ and the boppin’.

Neil S
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Neil S
2 years 17 days ago

They don’t listen to the jazz!

xsturmin8
Member
xsturmin8
2 years 17 days ago

Never mind that there is absolutely no evidence MLBAM requested these to be taken down (their statement could be a flat-out lie), and it’s just as likely Apple simply overreacted to a complaint and removed content (something they often do in the iTunes store and the app store).

Better to just accuse MLB and MLBAM of being incompetent and evil without evidence of actual malice so that you can get some page views.

LK
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LK
2 years 17 days ago

I think the whole point is that even if MLBAM didn’t ask for the content to be taken down, raising the issue of trademarks in this situation is incredibly petty, to put it generously.

RC2
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RC2
2 years 17 days ago

I couldn’t disagree more, and frankly this isn’t any different than any other corporation acts. You don’t see any podcasts using the NFL logo do you? Or the NBA logo?

You can use a trademark in an editorial/satiric function, but you can’t use it to represent yourself.

What MLB is doing here is LEGALLY REQUIRED in order to keep their trademark.

Cliff
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Cliff
2 years 16 days ago

Look at the examples- they are not going after people using MLB logos or marks in their podcasts’ titles but just in their descriptions.

joser
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joser
2 years 16 days ago

Do you have evidence any of these podcasts were using the MLB logo? I didn’t see them in Apple’s app store, but from this article it sounds like their entire “infringement” was using the name of an MLB team in the description of the podcast. And if that’s the logic, then every comment thread on Fangraphs (as well as Fangraphs itself, every other non-MLB-affiliated baseball website, and indeed every sports-related site that mentions MLB team names) would infringe likewise. Which is obviously absurd, and has been held to be so by the courts.

Frank
Guest
2 years 16 days ago

The idea that you need to scour the internet for mentions of your name or logo is a tired old legal urban legend. You are not “required” to do so at all.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 16 days ago

Yeah, BUT – I had drinks with this guy, then suddenly felt very sleepy, and woke up in a bathtub filled with ice AND MY KIDNEY WAS MISSING!!!

(It was still among the top ten first dates I’ve ever had.)

Cliff
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Cliff
2 years 16 days ago

Frank, failure to enforce your trademark against infringers can absolutely weaken that mark. Your mark will lose its distinctiveness and its scope of protection will narrow.

LK
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LK
2 years 17 days ago

Embarrassing.

Cliff
Guest
Cliff
2 years 17 days ago

It is not true that dilution only occurs when a nationally-recognized mark is tarnished. Dilution can also occur when a famous mark is “blurred” by use with a different product or service than that offered by the mark owner.

Kevin
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Kevin
2 years 17 days ago

As in Led Zeppelin lending a hand to sell Cadillacs?

Cliff
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Cliff
2 years 16 days ago

Not sure what you are saying here. It can only be infringement or dilution if it is done by someone other than the owner of the trademark.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 16 days ago

Methinks Kev was making a funny.

AF
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AF
2 years 16 days ago

You are correct, but there is no dilution by blurring here, either, as the name Twins is clearly referring to the MLB team, not to a different product.

Wandy Thurdriguez
Guest
Wandy Thurdriguez
2 years 16 days ago

Wendy Thurm does not tell us what podcasts are affected and how they were potentially using MLB trademark. Probably because she doesn’t know, and never did the research. But if a podcaster was using an MLB trademark to represent itself, how is that not a different product from what the MLB sells?

Satoshi Nakamoto
Member
Satoshi Nakamoto
2 years 16 days ago

There is a pro baseball team in South Korea called the Twins.

http://www.lgtwins.com/

El Duderino
Guest
El Duderino
2 years 16 days ago

I see there being a clear, defining line between what is and isn’t official in terms of MLB and it’s teams (without actually using or listening to the product): The use of the MLB logo. If something has the MLB logo, then it’s obviously endorsed by MLB and thus is official. But, if a fan with a blog or podcast uses a team logo as his avatar or to represent his blog or podcast never uses the MLB logo, then he’s only using the team logo to identify himself as a fan or his blog/podcast as being relevant to that team.

szielinski
Member
Member
szielinski
2 years 17 days ago

I was shocked to learn that public-minded entities like Major League Baseball and Apple would put profit-taking before civic-minded action. I was also shocked to see them collude to destroy the legal uses of the MLB brands with a penny-wise, pound-foolish strategy, uses which provides MLB with costless publicity and thus brand-enhancement.

I suppose I find these actions puzzling for the same reason that I am poor and these entities are fabulously wealthy. So, they must have had sound reasons for acting as they did, reasons obscure to a wretch like me.

/mockery

lipitorkid
Member
lipitorkid
2 years 17 days ago

Maybe they should just host all of their podcasts on YouTube, MLB has been really cool about letting people post awesome MLB clips and vids on YouTube so that more people can share and love the sport.

Oh wait… never-mind.

JMo37
Member
JMo37
2 years 17 days ago

Reminds me of several years ago when MLB had youtube remove all the MLB related videos. They removed vintage blooper reals…… SO I can not listen to a PodCast from a fan, but MLB thinks I am going to watch / listen to Christopher Russo.
Kind of out of touch with reality.

Chris
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Chris
2 years 17 days ago

My takeaway is: don’t use iTunes.

I understand the value of helping publishers and listeners find each other, but it is not a necessary step. A “podcast” is just an audio file, possibly accompanied with another file with a description. Nothing special about that. Once listeners find a podcast that they like, it can usually be downloaded directly from the source.

Examples:
The baseball show with Rany and Joe (RIP):
http://www.joesheehan.com/podcast/RanyJoeRSS.xml
Baseball Prospectus: Effectively Wild:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/blog/daily_podcast/
Joe Posnanski’s PosCast:
http://directory.libsyn.com/shows/view/id/theposcast

Oliver
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Oliver
2 years 17 days ago

Basically this, in addition to MLBAM sucking. How many affected Android podcast listeners? None.

WIMBLE23
Member
WIMBLE23
2 years 17 days ago

That’s how I took this too. This is much more of an Apple problem of controlling content than a MLBAM problem.

sanford sklansky
Guest
sanford sklansky
2 years 17 days ago

While it is true you can go to the web sites I Tunes does make it easy to keep track of your podcasts. With Tune In radio, Stitcher and some other sites it i pretty easy to listen to podcasts. I wonder if MLB will go after those sites as well.

RC2
Guest
RC2
2 years 17 days ago

” But legally, a reference to MLB or an MLB team doesnt infringe a trademark unless its used in a way that is likely to cause confusion”

Confusion, or using it in a way to represent yourself.

It’s totally ok for an article on the cubs to use the cubs logo. It’s not okay for a paper to have the cubs logo as their own. That’s the difference here.

These podcasts were using team logos as their own, which could confuse people into thinking they were official MLB podcasts, which they’re not. Nothing wrong here.

Johnston
Guest
2 years 17 days ago

The way it was handled is wrong.

Cliff
Guest
Cliff
2 years 16 days ago

It actually would be fine to use the Cubs’ logo on a newspaper, IF the Cubs’ logo was not a famous mark. Because it is a famous mark, people are likely to draw a connection even if the Cubs do not offer similar (newspaper) services. Therefore a dilution claim would be successful, although not a trademark infringement claim (assuming the Cubs do not offer legally similar services).

RC2
Guest
RC2
2 years 17 days ago

“So the law says its okay to describe the podcast as relating to the Minnesota Twins.”

Wendy, you’re usually good, but you’re completely missing the point here. It’s fine for them to have “Twins-talk podcast” as a name. What’s not fine is having the MLB logo/twins logo as your logo on the app store. It’s clearly confusing as to whether or not its officially sanctioned, and clearly a violation of the trademark.

Which means MLB has to go after these people, or they’ll lose the trademark.

Book_Worm
Guest
Book_Worm
2 years 17 days ago

Interestingly, the Twins podcast Gleeman and the Geek did not use a Twins Logo in its image. For a long time, the image for the podcast has intentionally been a generic baseball. It is only in the description of the podcast that the Minnesota Twins franchise is mentioned. So by your own logic (“It’s fine for them to have the name ‘Twins Talk’…”), they are not in violation.

elguapo
Member
elguapo
2 years 16 days ago

That was what I was wondering, i.e., did the podcasts use mlb or team logos, in which case, mlb’s actions might be a bit dickish, but not entirely out of line, as people might think they’re official mlb podcasts. Not allowing them to use a team name is ridiculous, though.

Book_Worm
Guest
Book_Worm
2 years 17 days ago

To clarify, I’m not saying your logic is correct – I don’t know enough about the law. What I’m saying is that that particular podcast actually meets the standards you lay out for acceptable use.

Wrigley70
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Wrigley70
2 years 17 days ago

This is why Football is now the king of sports in the US.

The NFL embraces this kind of thing with both hands

Pennsy
Guest
Pennsy
2 years 16 days ago

Football NEEDS people talking about it on all those days that games aren’t played. The commiseration is a large part of the appeal, really.

Wandy Thurdriguez
Guest
Wandy Thurdriguez
2 years 17 days ago

1. Does Wendy Thurm really believe that tarnishment is the only recognized theory of dilution?

2. Did Wendy Thurm make summary pronouncements about the absurdity of MLB’s action and its motives based on zero factual knowledge?

3. Does Wendy Thurm really think using MLB and MLB teams’ logos in a business for profit is unmistakable fair use?

4. Does Wendy Thurm think MLB has no right to zealously protect its trademark?

If the podcasters want to continue using MLB trademark for profit, they are perfectly free to do so, at least until legal actions have been taken. Then they are free to argue that Wendy Thurm told them that they are clearly not infringing on anyone’s trademark. If they want to take advantage of Apple’s client-base and delivery system, they need to play by Apple’s rules.

RC2
Guest
RC2
2 years 13 days ago

Yeah. She did pretty much all those things.

For someone whose supposed to be the legal expert here, the article is pretty ridiculous.

I’ve noticed a lot of the story->numbers type articles lately replacing numbers->story articles… it’s not a welcome transition.

thalooch
Member
Member
thalooch
2 years 17 days ago

MLBAM continues to prove to me that they only care about money. Their app is pure garbage. I have long been a subscriber to MLB.TV as well as their smartphone app and it has always had problems. This year, I can’t even listen to a broadcast of a game through my phone without constantly losing the audio. They are aware of the issue, they say they are “working on it” and that its only an issue with Samsung Galaxy 4 and 5. We’re in week 6 of the season.

I’ve had issues with their products for years now. They have never once issued me any kind of partial refund/discount whatever. Last year there were numerous occasions where feeds were disrupted or I was unable to view ANY game for a number of hours, along with thousands of other people as evidence of the complaints on the forums.

Their web application I have found in the past to be equally infuriating as I’ve spent far too much time watching spinning circles rather than actual baseball.

My experience is that they do the very least possible for their customers, us fans, so that they can maximize their profit. It’s a monopoly. I can’t purchase any subscription package to watch and/or listen to games through any other provider, so I’m stuck with what they have to offer, which is by far inferior to any other sports streaming media company I have purchased. NBA, NHL, NFL, even free streaming through WatchESPN is VASTLY superior to their product.

I think they are incompetent corporate greedy assholes and it would not surprise me in the least if they explicitly asked to remove those podcasts cause they feared someone else might be making a buck off what should be “their” product. I bet they come out with their own podcast too and charge users a monthly rate for it.

wooo Mookie
Guest
wooo Mookie
2 years 17 days ago

instead of taking down these podcasts maybe they could fix the MLB.TV application for Xbox 360? I would love to be able to watch an entire game without having to re-select the feed 20 times

Daniel
Member
Daniel
2 years 16 days ago

Exactly! They keep saying they are working on it but nothing seems to be fixed yet. We are into May and I still have not been able to watch a game through MLB.TV on my xbox.

dl80
Guest
dl80
2 years 16 days ago

Unfortunately, they may have moved on to the XBox One app. I’m guessing that they see the writing on the wall and realize that the subscriber/user base for the XBox app is only going to shrink as users move to the One. Why spend money fixing something that is, almost by definition, going to hemorrhage users in the near future?

Jason Powers
Guest
Jason Powers
2 years 16 days ago

Sometimes in business you do the right thing because its right not because it will save money to ignore it. Not making a product compatible across platforms eventually will make enough users ignore all platforms.

RC2
Guest
RC2
2 years 13 days ago

Almost nobody in business does the right thing because it’s right. They do it because it improves their public image, and leads directly to profit.

If a public company is doing something without profit in mind, they’re violating the law (by defrauding their shareholders)

Michael
Guest
Michael
2 years 16 days ago

Realistically, you have to expect MLB to aggressively protect their intellectual property. What they probably should do is have a simplified licensing process for a small annual fee, but my guess is that they would also include language on non-disparagement. That would make the process a no go for most podcasts, because criticism, including of the Commissioner, Umpires, management, etc, is part of what fans talk about.

Frank
Guest
2 years 16 days ago

They don’t let any clips live on Youtube, they money grabbed their way clean out of making any profits on fantasy baseball or stats, and now they don’t want any baseball podcasts. It’s pretty obvious the people who run things just don’t have a clue what they’re interacting with. I seriously doubt anyone in that office understands the internet, let alone online presence (and if they did it would be a lawyer getting paid by the hour to shut things down).

Wandy Thurdriguez
Guest
Wandy Thurdriguez
2 years 16 days ago

MLB is not going to have its hands in “making any profits on fantasy baseball.” Regardless of what you think about it, fantasy baseball is a couple of steps away from gambling on baseball.
I’ve a pretty good feeling that the lowest cubicle-monkey in MLB understands its business better than you do.

Pennsy
Guest
Pennsy
2 years 16 days ago

The NFL operates an official, free fantasy game. Not that they’ve been successful at generating fan interest or anything.

Eric Walker
Guest
2 years 16 days ago

There is an old saying that may be germane here: “Do not attribute to malice that which can readily be explained by stupidity.”

BenRevereDoesSteroids
Guest
BenRevereDoesSteroids
2 years 16 days ago

“And dilution occurs only when a nationally-recognized mark is tarnished when used by a third party for its own purposes.”

What constitutes tarnishing? Would criticizing the team for signing Hughes and Nolasco, and saying that the organization is incompetent for those signings be tarnishment?

SeattleSlew
Guest
SeattleSlew
2 years 16 days ago

This is America, you don’t get freedom of speech.

Jason Powers
Guest
Jason Powers
2 years 16 days ago

Well they could use ‘twinkies’…or the twinkies defense…

MLBAM and Apple should clarify better their policy or legally acceptable usages of logo or other referencing uses to podcasters. They should attempt to broaden appeal not restrict or undermine their technological attempts to reach the young fan.

They seem to undermine sustainabilty with their douchosity on trademark issues.

MLB Rainmaker
Member
Member
MLB Rainmaker
2 years 16 days ago

I think you’re just touching on the tip of iceberg here if you want to expose the lengths MLB goes to protect its IP.

One of the investment vehicles of my company invests in sports, and through that we own a few baseball complexes for youth players. We recently re-named our facility and got a notice from MLB for using the word “baseball”. While that sounds ridiculous, MLB has apparently registered hundreds of variations & derivatives of terms related to the word “baseball”, such that they can file a complaint for just about any use of the word baseball. We ended up coming to settlement with MLB, mostly because they made it clear they would litigate, but still we were blown away that a tiny 8 field facility attracted attention.

Homer Simpson
Guest
Homer Simpson
2 years 16 days ago

See that ship over there? They’re re-broadcasting Major League Baseball with implied oral consent, not express written consent … or so the legend goes.

Bartholomew J S
Guest
Bartholomew J S
2 years 16 days ago

Sparkle sparkle!

joe
Guest
joe
2 years 16 days ago

Idk why people are talking about the use of a Logo when no logo was used. We are only talking about the mentioning of a team name. If they had used a logo Wendy never would have written this article because it would have been an unlawful act.

Wandy Thurdriguez
Guest
Wandy Thurdriguez
2 years 16 days ago

Or Wendy Thurm has not done her homework. It wouldn’t be the first time she got the law wrong or wrote an article without any knowledge of the facts.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 16 days ago

Wendy writes cogent, well written, well researched summaries of relevant MLB-related law topics and makes them very accessible to the layperson.

You are a nameless, faceless internet troll.

Clear advantage: Wendy.

RC2
Guest
RC2
2 years 13 days ago

“Wendy writes cogent, well written, well researched summaries of relevant MLB-related law topics”

Except when she doesn’t, which she clearly didn’t on this article. The research clearly wasn’t done.

And while shes usually very good, it isn’t the first time shes come off half cocked.

10Q
Guest
10Q
2 years 16 days ago

Like it or not, there is an implied trust between the major sports, and their fans. Yes, this is America, and money is something, but money is not everything. When it comes to sports and competition, there is a certain character building component, and most importantly a certain childhood lore to it. When we are children, apart from being consumers, we are participants.

We EXPECT more from sports apart from its business aspect. We will always love sports, but the greater the disconnect between the “character” of friendly competition, and the “money” of friendly competition, the greater the disconnect between the fan and the teams they cheer for. However, as the MLB, NBA, and NFL remain our only choices to be fans of sports that we cherish, we will take whatever product they provide.

The MLB, NBA, and NFL can do their “character” dance all they want – admonishing cheaters and racists, and providing us with spectacles of community works to provide us with the illusion of congruency between our love of sports, and our love of the products that the MLB, NBA, and NFL provide. But how long can this last, and how much is too much?

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 16 days ago

MLB is a monopoly. They don’t care. Private monopolies are no better than state owned monopolies. Capitalism is great because of competition. Remove competition from capitalism and what you have is Mussolini’s corporatism or Stalin’s Communism.

Many of the industries in this country are now controlled by 2-3 big players who engage in collusion and protect each other as well as those in other industries. So when MLB speaks, Apple listens

Only victims are the consumers. Like WTO was free trade for the large corporations, it mean ever more restrictions on consumers. Sure, maybe prices for some imported products are lower because of manufacturing competition in China, but many profits get locked up overseas which increases their tax burden. For domestic products provided by these cartels and monopolies, prices are sky high compared to the rest of the world and service is low. Internet speeds in the US for example have slipped to 9th while priced 10 times more than countries like Hong Kong and South Korea. Many more examples.

Tim
Guest
Tim
2 years 16 days ago

They probably outsource their trademark enforcement, and trademark enforcement companies are incentivized to be as harsh and aggressive as they can get away with.

Mike SanClemente
Guest
2 years 16 days ago

IIRC: In the 1940s or 50s, the idea of finally putting baseball on TV was floated to the owners, who strongly resisted it b/c it would hurt sales (watch it at home INSTEAD of coming to the park, rather than thinking TV might help them reach more people). Obviously the measure ultimately passed, and the results are obvious.

This is a very similar situation. “MLB with……..the whiff…….”

Fart Proudly
Guest
Fart Proudly
2 years 16 days ago

Wow, so EVERY ONE of those podcasts that were taken down always said totally wonderful things about “its” team? As for competing, podcasts clearly compete with MLB channel and ESPN’s Baseball Tonight. MLB didn’t file about any of that however, just using its trademarked logos, just as they did against Little League a few years back, just as they do against players. Your poison should be aimed at Apple for taking the easy way out. I guess podcasters are not as capable of workarounds as Little League teams…I’ll bet they can return sans trademarked bits.

Simon
Guest
Simon
2 years 16 days ago

Except we’ve already established that some of the podcasts removed didn’t use logos for precisely this reason.

RC2
Guest
RC2
2 years 13 days ago

And we’re sure that it was MLB who removed those, and not Apple, who is known for it’s draconian IP and “family-friendly” policies?

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 16 days ago

At one time MLB tried to claim all statistics of MLB games were their property rights which would have given them a piece of every fantasy league

“The company that provided the fantasy league, CBC, proactively filed a lawsuit asking for a declaratory judgment, knowing that MLB was likely to sue them. MLB’s response was to claim that it wasn’t really a copyright case at all, but about the right to publicity — and the right to control how others use your likeness. It seems that this defense has failed.

Richard was kind enough to submit that the federal court hearing the case has sided with the fantasy league, saying they can continue to use the names and stats, since they’re in the public domain and there is no violation of the right of publicity. The court noted that there is no indication that CBC is using the names and stats to suggest these players “endorse” or are associated with the fantasy league. Also, there’s no commercial harm to the players. As the court notes, if anything, “this case actually enhances the marketability of the players.” The court notes that, even if the right of publicity were violated, the First Amendment would protect the use of this data, because it is “historical fact,” and just because CBC makes money on their service, it does not take away their First Amendment rights. Finally, the court also notes (once again) the point that facts are not copyrightable. In other words, MLB lost this case on every single argument. What will be interesting is to see the fallout from this decision.”

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060808/1850214.shtml

I imagine the same would apply here but these podcast owners are unlikely to have the resources to sue. However, itunes should give the podcast owners the opportunity to refute MLB’s claim and put the burden on MLB to prove their claim by taking it to court. They won’t because mlbab app is one of their biggest sellers.

Anthony L. Russa
Guest
Anthony L. Russa
2 years 16 days ago

Thank God they did this! All they kept talking about was how high my BAC gets when I pinch-hit an unknown AAA guy for Pujols based on two plate appearances!
…Hey! Someone get Isringhausen up in the ‘pen! I don’t care how many days in a row he’s pitched, he’s the closer! And someone get me a scotch!

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