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The Fantasy of Athlete Publicity Rights: Public Fascination and Fantasy Sports’ Assertion of Free Use Place Athlete Publicity Rights on an Uncertain Playing Field

19 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2014  

Maureen Weston

Pepperdine University School of Law

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

This Comment examines the treatment of athlete publicity rights in the context of fantasy sports as well as new media uses. Part I examines cases where athlete publicity rights have been recognized and rejected. Part II focuses upon fantasy sports' challenge to player publicity rights in C.B.C. Distribution & Marketing, Inc. v. Major League Baseball Advanced Media, L.P. In C.B.C, both the federal district court and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld, albeit for different reasons, the unlicensed use of player names and statistics by a fantasy sports provider in the online games that C.B.C. sells to the public. Part III analyzes the impact of C.B.C. on the future of athlete publicity rights in the expanding commercial market for online sports content, gaming, and media. Part IV reflects upon the policy considerations underlying athletes' rights to control use of their names against what appears to be an overriding regard for free use based on public interest and proposes explicit legislative and judicial articulation of such.

Keywords: fantasy sports, new media, athlete publicity rights, player publicity rights, right to publicity, athlete identities, fair use, First Amendment

Suggested Citation

Weston, Maureen, The Fantasy of Athlete Publicity Rights: Public Fascination and Fantasy Sports’ Assertion of Free Use Place Athlete Publicity Rights on an Uncertain Playing Field (2008). Chapman Law Review, Vol. 11, No. 581, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2461869

Maureen A Weston (Contact Author)

Pepperdine University School of Law ( email )

24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States

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