FanDuel says Garçon lawsuit is “without merit”


[Editor’s note: FanDuel is an advertiser of PFT and PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. Also, NBC Sports has an equity stake in FanDuel.]

On Friday, Washington receiver Pierre Garçon sued FanDuel for misappropriation of player names and likenesses in daily fantasy. FanDuel has responded.

“We believe this suit is without merit,” FanDuel said said Friday night in a statement. “There is established law that fantasy operators may use player names and statistics for fantasy contests. FanDuel looks forward to continuing to operate our contests which sports fans everywhere have come to love.”

When it’s time to submit a more formal legal response to the complaint filed by Garçon, look for FanDuel to rely heavily on a 2006 ruling from a federal judge in St. Louis, who found that Major League Baseball and its players have no right to prevent the use of player names and statistics.

“The names and playing records of major-league baseball players as used in . . . fantasy games are not copyrightable,” Judge Mary Ann Medler wrote. “Therefore, federal copyright law does not pre-empt the players’ claimed right of publicity.”

Without seeing the lawsuit (and we’re working on getting a copy of it), it’s impossible to know whether other legal theories would apply. It’s also possible that a different federal jurisdiction would reach a different decision.

Until then, this lawsuit will be no different than every other lawsuit that ever is filed. The plaintiff believes strongly in its position, the defendant believes strongly in its position, and either a judge or a jury will resolve it — or the two sides will work out their differences through a settlement.

50 responses to “FanDuel says Garçon lawsuit is “without merit”

  1. Using the names in the game itself is necessary and not copyrightable as the judge stated but using the names and likenesses in ADVERTISING is completely different. I tune out the incessant advertising so i don’t remember if they promote a generic game or if they actually use specific players. If it is the latter, then there is a case.

  2. Just a simple question of why PFT left out the 2006 MLB v Fantasy Sports court case in first story? Is that question such a problem to ask on this mssg brd? Really?

  3. FanDuel says Garçon lawsuit is “without merit”

    I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.
    Just curious, is there anyone that is aware of any defendant at anytime ever saying the plaintiff’s lawsuit has great merit and we are total Delta Bravos?

  4. Garcon’s lawsuit aside… these are the things that happen when you force your product in people’s faces incessantly and with reckless abandon.

  5. I wonder how different this case would be if it were Tom Brady making this claim. My guess is DFS would get shut down completely. But since it’s Garçon, nothing will come of this. He does make a good point though.

  6. This guy. He’s a FFL reject.

    And to those who bash people who play FF, sorry you’re not able to play. It does take some skills so I feel you’re hate. It’s okay, go play your “rock, paper, scissors”.

  7. Fan Duel’s a colossal scam for head to head play. As a lawyer Florio, it should be clear as hell to you. What assurance is offered in exchange for your $$$ that you’re playing against a real, live human being in head to head matchup? Zilch. I guess the color green skews whatever unbiased lawyer take you had on the subject.

  8. Hey Pierre, that’s the beauty of LawyerDuel. If you lose this case you can sign up for a brand new case next week, or anytime. You’re not stuck with a season long case. Just use promo code: saturate—-that’s promo code saturate.

  9. Is there a difference between fanduel, draftkings, and how ESPN, NFL, fox and cbs promote season long fantasy sports, their players and their likeness? Seems all the same to me. Not sure how you would isolate this lawsuit to just one…

  10. I think the difference between normal fantasy and daily fantasy, is that players are assigned a cost, based on their statistics. IMO, that maybe why this Garcon Lawsuit has merit.

    Whereas, in normal fantasy, you just draft where you draft based on widely available statistics.

  11. Has every single fantasy group paid for NFL names? NO. Give me a break. Gambling should legal in every aspect.

  12. Of course it is without merit. Every media outlet under the sun that generates revenue and also uses the names and likenesses of players would be screwed.

  13. “I wonder how different this case would be if it were Tom Brady making this claim. My guess is DFS would get shut down completely. But since it’s Garçon, nothing will come of this. He does make a good point though.”

    Melting about Tom Brady in a thread that has nothing to do with Tom Brady.

    lol, get a life dude.

  14. I am indifferent to the concept of fantasy sports. However, if they managed to include in the settlement an agreement to limit the fantasy football commercials to one or less per commercial break I will be happy.

  15. When you deposit money into one of these sites and risk is involved ie: losing the money… it called Gambling. It’s a game of chance.

  16. Names and stats are public. But Fanduel does use photos of players on their profile panels, which is misappropriation for commercial gain* if the player (or the league via the CBA etc) hasn’t given permission.

    *there are exclusions to this (news/media reporting etc) but gambling sites would seem to stretch the current list of exclusions too far.

  17. He must not realize that fantasy football is one of the major drivers in the enormous growth the league has seen in the last 10 years. This growth leads to player’s salaries seeing the same growth. It’s safe to say he wouldn’t have signed a $42 million contract without this growth. Don’t kill that golden egg-producing goose!

  18. streetyson says:Oct 31, 2015 9:28 AM

    Names and stats are public. But Fanduel does use photos of players on their profile panels, which is misappropriation for commercial gain* if the player (or the league via the CBA etc) hasn’t given permission.
    Thank you for answering my question as I’ve never used fandual. If they are in fact using players likeness for entertainment/profit it is no different than a video game doing the same. The NFLPA should be all over this so all the players are compensated for the use of their likeness. I’m guessing so far they haven’t because of the huge amount of ad revenue their broadcasters are collecting from this. I’d imagine if this was Brady filing the suit they would just pay him as a spoke person for commercials to make it go away. The NFLPA has really dropped the ball in this regard probably from pressure from the broadcasting partners that are enjoying the ad revenue.

  19. These predatory DFS sites where 1.6% of the people win 90% of the money from what they call “minnows” need to be banned. If not just to stop those annoying commercials.

  20. I see it like this.

    FanDuel and Draft Kings (and others) are tapping into the FF revenue stream and they are closing the popularity gap from normal fantasy formats that already earn billions. They insure their money and pay for the rights from the NFL and NFLPA and also for tons of advertising. The cut the site makes though is staggering (10% on FD across the board is the vig and up to 10% on DK is the vig)……now considering the volume of money coming in, that is a rather significant revenue.

    I think the amount of checks and balances for both sites will have to improve consistently for the popularity to increase as there is talk that insider information trading is happening and employees and/or professional fantasy handicappers are getting in on the action, therefore making the average person at a huge disadvantage in just about any meaningful format.

    I won my first attempt at FD (albeit it was not much) and started to wonder what protection does anyone have from professionals getting involved?

    It would be like a basketball player (really good one) being offered a tournament opportunity (all 1v1) to win up to “x amount of money”……… then finding out that he has to face LeBron James and 10 other pro players on his way to the top.

  21. this lawsuit will go no where the NFL is getting their cut from Fan Duel and draftkings just like they get their cut from the NFL ticket exchange

  22. I’m with Pierre in this one. If it is a “game” and not gambling, then he is 100% on point.

  23. So then by his logic, we can not use his name in regular dialect as well? By all accounts, why is he not suing every other fantasy football league? It every bar that does super bowl squares using teams likeness without “express written consent”?

    He’s been in the league for years so just now he has an issue with this?
    Sounds like he’s a bit nervous about his career combing to an end

  24. billsffan1: because the fantasy football is using likeness (his actual name and stats). Small fantasy leagues are not profiting on his “likeness”.

  25. A friend of mine is trying to go after them as well. He put 350 into a game and won and after they took there cut he got 575 profit, they took the rest. He supposably won 3500 according to the numbers. So yeah they are scam artist

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