The Use of Players' Identities in Fantasy Sports Leagues: Developing Workable Standards for Right of Publicity Claims
The author examines the controversial issue of whether the use of professional athletes’ names and playing records by fantasy sports league operators, without the consent and authorization of the players, violates the players’ right of publicity. While the issue of fantasy league use appears to just add more fuel to an already confusing area of law, at the same time it presents an interesting context in which to evaluate the present state of right of publicity law and to develop workable standards for courts in deciding right of publicity claims. Intertwined throughout the discussion is an analysis and critique of the district court’s ruling in C.B.C. Distribution and Marketing, Inc. v. Major League Baseball Advanced Media, L.P. Using this case as a backdrop, this article attempts to define workable standards in a confusing area of law and concludes that players have a right of publicity in the use of their names and performance statistics by fantasy sports leagues.