Licensing fees at heart of battle

The legal battle between CBS Interactive and the NFL’s rank and file escalated late Wednesday when NFL Players, the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFL Players Assn., answered the net’s suit, filed last week in Minnesota, with one of its own.

CBS Interactive sued the players org in answer to their demand for licensing fees for the right to use their names and stats in the Eye’s online fantasy football game; the Eye claims that such information is in the public domain. In its suit CBS requested that the NFLPA be found in violation of antitrust laws.

The gridironers’ legal retort, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, lodges a couple of procedural challenges: one, that CBS’ suit should have been against the NFLP, not against the nonprofit NFLPA; and two, that the case should rightly be tried in the Sunshine State, where CBSSports.com is based, not in Minnesota.

More to the point, though, NFL Players is seeking a permanent injunction against CBS Interactive from using players’ images or information, as well as a “reimbursement, restitution or disgorgement” of the coin generated by the fantasy action.

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