Yahoo, NFL players union settle lawsuit
MINNEAPOLIS -- Yahoo Inc. and the NFL Players Association have reached a settlement over the use of players' statistics, photos and other data in Yahoo's popular online fantasy football game, but details were not released Tuesday.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Yahoo sued the NFLPA last month in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, claiming Yahoo shouldn't have to pay royalties to use the data because the information is already publicly available.
Yahoo dropped the lawsuit Monday, and a judge formally dismissed it Tuesday without prejudice, which leaves open the possibility of bringing it up again. Officials from both parties said a settlement was reached.
Yahoo Sports spokeswoman Nicol Addison said the company doesn't discuss litigation and she wouldn't disclose details.
Andrew Feffer, the union's chief operating officer and executive vice president, also confirmed the settlement, adding that NFLPA and Yahoo "continue to explore additional opportunities to work together." He did not elaborate.
The last of Yahoo's licensing agreements with NFL Players Inc. expired March 1. But Yahoo claimed it didn't need authorization, due to a court decision in April in a similar dispute between NFL Players Inc. and CBS Interactive Inc.
Fantasy sports league participants create teams comprised of real players. As the season progresses, participants track their players' statistics to judge how well their team is performing. According to the judge's decision in the CBS Interactive case, an estimated 13 million to 15 million people participate in fantasy football games that gross more than $1 billion a year.
The NFLPA is appealing the decision in the CBS Interactive case.
The Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball Advanced Media lost a similar case in 2007 when the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that fantasy baseball company CBC Distribution and Marketing Inc. didn't have to pay the players, even though it profited by using their names and statistics. The judge in the CBS Interactive case relied heavily on the 8th Circuit's ruling.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press