The legal dispute arose four years ago when Major League Baseball Advanced Media, which represents the players and owners, signed licensing deals for fantasy games with a few big companies, including Yahoo, ESPN, Fox Sports and CBS Sportsline. At the same time, Major League Baseball ended earlier deals with dozens of leagues, games and websites that had offered fantasy games.
One of the jilted providers, C.B.C. Distribution and Marketing in St. Louis, went to court and last year won a double-header victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals there. The judges ruled that the fantasy game provider had a 1st Amendment right to use the names and statistics of major league players, and it was free to ignore the earlier licensing deal.