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MLB Properties In Copyright Dispute w/ Cape Cod League Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 09 March 2008 21:51

Cape Cod Baseball LeagueThe Cape Cod Baseball League and MLB Properties are in a copyright dispute over the names of teams in the Cape Cod League, all of which have been in existence for at least twenty years.

MLBP is in dispute with six franchise names that the Cape Code League uses: the Bourne Braves, Harwich Mariners, Orleans Cardinals, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, Chatham Athletics (A’s), and Hyannis Mets.

MLBIn the case of the Mariners name being used by the Harwich club, it predates the Seattle Mariners.

MLBP owns the rights to the shared names, and contacted the CCBL regarding changing them. MLBP has allowed the CCBL to go about business using their names for all of last year. Now, MLBP has contacted CCBL in an effort to address the names.

As reported by the Cape Cod Enterprise:

One Cape League franchise’s general manager, who asked that he not be identified, said that he hopes that an agreement can be reached so that the Cape League teams do not have to change their names. “The bottom line is that they do own our names,” he said.

CCBL officials are hoping to come to an amicable agreement with MLBP. They are currently pondering a handful of different possible solutions to the situation.

At Wednesday night’s meeting the Cape League people discussed whether or not they would agree to the terms that have been laid out by MLBP in order for them to continue using those names for their franchises. MLBP and the CCBL have had a working relationship for better than two decades, with MLBP providing an annual grant since the mid-1990s. Over the last two years that grant has been $100,000.

Under the terms and conditions laid out by MLBP, the big league organization would agree to continue to provide a $100,000 grant to the Cape League, which the league uses for a variety of operating costs, as long as the six affected teams return signed permission agreements. Under those agreements each team will be granted the right to use a text-only and stylized version of the team’s nickname (e.g. the word mark Mariners) and a composite logo consisting of MLB’s silhouetted batter logo combined with the text “funded in part by Major League Baseball.”

MLBP is requiring that Cape League teams purchase any MLBP-approved merchandise and promotional items “directly from an official MLB licensee of MLB’s choice,” and that any purchased merchandise and promotional items that were not licensed by MLB can be sold by CCBL, but only if they agree to a royalty rate of 11 percent.

What has been the reaction from CCBL officials?

CCBL Commissioner Paul Galop said, “Currently there’s no story; it’s business as usual as far as we’re concerned.”

Thanks to Keith Dangel for pointing us in the direction of this article


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network

 
 
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