Friday, April 10, 2009

UPDATE: No NSI Ticket Giveaway


We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience that this has caused anyone.

This afternoon, MLB Advanced Media legal counsel served up a cease and desist letter regarding the contest we were going to run for a pair of free tickets to the Yankees game on May 20. Apparently if you check on the back of your ticket, there is a clause preventing promotional giveaways without the express written consent of the New York Yankees. Lesson learned.

The lawyers at MLBAM also served up a cease and desist to remove the inaugural season logo from the header of the blog. We obviously obliged. While this is within the legal rights of the MLB, it can also be seen as a case of the Yankees and MLB flexing their muscles to try to prevent us from what they perceive as controversial writing.

There is a decent chance that they caught wind of the contest after we contacted the Yankee media relations office while researching a story that we are working on this weekend. Or perhaps they caught wind after we were quoted in the New York Times today.

Unfortunately, the story that we are working on this weekend does not cast the Yankee franchise in the best light. Earlier today, we requested official comment for the story from the Yankees, in order to allow the Yankees to share their feelings. The Yankees did not respond, but shortly after we sent the email, the MLB legal team went after us for naive mistakes that we had made while running the blog. So much for trying to research a story in a professional way. Perhaps the Yankees would rather that we just aggregate stories that are churned out out by their PR machine the mainstream media. Maybe this is all just a funny coincidence.

On a personal note, I told this story to my girlfriend, who knows about the piece that I am currently working on. While the piece is not groundbreaking, it does feature firsthand reporting that I have done in my spare time. In my opinion, it will make people think a bit about the franchise they they dedicate much of their life supporting. My girlfriend suggested that maybe I should back off, and that I shouldn't go down this road, since the blog is only a hobby. After all, if the MLB decides to throw a frivolous lawsuit my way for amateur web design and contest mistakes, I won't have the time, or the money to deal with it.

I'd like to take this opportunity to send the message to the Yankees and MLB that while they have the right to legally protect their trademarks, if they are trying to suppress my voice, it will not work. I don't need ticket giveaways or the Yankee inaugural season logo to share my opinions and research stories, controversial or otherwise. I have learned from this and will continue to write what I feel needs to be written in a responsible (if sometimes opinionated) way.
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