Yahoo, NFL settle lawsuit over fantasy league

 @ibtimes
on July 07 2009 4:56 PM

Yahoo! Inc and the National Football League's players union settled a lawsuit on Monday over whether the Web company should pay royalties for using players' data on its fantasy league game, both sides said on Tuesday.

We did reach a settlement and we are going to explore other opportunities with the NFL players union to work together, Yahoo! Sports spokeswoman Nicol Addison said.

She would not disclose the terms of the settlement.

NFL Players and Yahoo! have reached a settlement. We continue to explore additional opportunities to work together, Andrew Feffer, chief operating officer of NFL Players, said in a statement.

Yahoo had sued the NFL Players Association Inc and its licensing arm, the NFL Players Inc, in June in Minnesota federal court, saying it should not have to pay royalties to use publicly available NFL player statistics, and related information in fantasy football games.

In the lawsuit, Yahoo said it wanted to avert threatened litigation by the players' unions by having a judge declare that the unions could not control the use of players' likenesses, stats or other information in fantasy games.

The company also wanted the court to find that the unions may not continue to extract money from Yahoo for the use of this publicly available information.

Yahoo's last licensing agreement with the players' union expired on March 1, 2009, and it notified the NFLPA that it would not be renewing the contract in light of a court finding that another fantasy football league provider did not need licenses.

Yahoo is a top U.S. provider of fantasy sports services, offering a fantasy leagues in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf and auto racing, court filings showed.

In a fantasy league, participants pretend to be managers of professional sports teams, and build rosters by scouting, drafting and trading players on their teams during the course of the season.

Team performance is based on player performance and statistics.

(Reporting by Gina Keating, editing by Matt Daily and Richard Chang)

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