Former Northern Illinois running backs Akeem Daniels and Cameron Stingily, along with former Indiana wide receiver Nicholas Stoner have all filed a lawsuit against online fantasy sports titans Draftkings and FanDuel for using their names, along with the names of numerous other athletes without their permission for games and advertising, via ESPN.com.
The claims were made on the grounds of the fact that Indiana’s right of publicity law states that a company can’t use a person’s name or likeness without permission.
Despite this, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of the two companies on account of the pictures and stats used by DraftKings and FanDuel have “newsworthy value,” and as a result aren’t subjected to the publicity law.
R. Stanton Dodge, DraftKings chief legal officer had the following to say on the case: “Sports statistics — and the ability for all fans to freely access them — has always been at the center of the American sports experience. As previous generations engaged with statistics by reviewing box scores and batting leaders in the newspaper, the modern sports fan engages with statistics by playing fantasy sports contests.”
Indiana Supreme Court Judge Steven H. David commented, “This information is not stripped of its newsworthy value simply because it is placed behind a paywall or used in the context of a fantasy game. On the contrary, fantasy sports operators use factual data combined with a significant, creative component that allows consumers to interact with the data in a unique way.”
It’s a great day for the online fantasy sports betting community.