Yahoo has sued the NFL Players Association, claiming it shouldn't have to pay royalties to use players' statistics, photos and other data in its popular online fantasy football game because the information is already publicly available.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Yahoo filed its lawsuit Monday in federal court in Minneapolis.
According to the complaint, a licensing arm of the players union has threatened to sue Yahoo if it doesn't pay for the information. The last of Yahoo's licensing agreements with NFL Players Inc. expired March 1. But Yahoo claims it doesn't need authorization, due to a court decision in April in a similar dispute between NFL Players and CBS Interactive.
Fantasy sports league participants create teams comprised of real players. As the season progresses, participants' track their players' statistics to judge how well their team is performing. According to the judge's decision in the CBS Interactive case, an estimated 13 million to 15 million people participate in fantasy football games that gross more than $1 billion a year.