National Football Scouting, Inc. v. Rang

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright
  • Date Filed: 12-13-2012
  • Case #: 11–cv–5762–RBL
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Leighton
  • Full Text Opinion

A numerical expression representing an opinion of a player’s likelihood of succeeding in the NFL is copyrightable.

Opinion (Leighton): National Football Scouting (National) uses a numerical expression, called a “Player Grade,” to represent National’s opinion of the player’s likelihood of success in the NFL. These numbers are copyrighted as unpublished works. Robert Rang (Rang) discussed the Player Grades for eighteen college players in eight articles. After Rang ignored several cease and desist letters, National brought this suit for copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. The Court held that the Player Grades are “compilations of data chosen and weighed with creativity and judgment,” and therefore met the minimum level of creativity required to be copyrightable. Both parties agreed that Rang had copied the Player Grades, however, the Court held that Rang’s use of the Player Grades was justified under the fair use doctrine. The Court GRANTED Rang’s motion for summary judgment.

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