Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Groups Want PGA Tour Ruling Tossed; Morris Can No Longer Provide Real-Time Scores on Internet Site

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Groups Want PGA Tour Ruling Tossed; Morris Can No Longer Provide Real-Time Scores on Internet Site

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Pinkham, Times-Union staff writer

Fourteen U.S. media organizations have joined together to ask an appeals court to overturn a Jacksonville judge's decision prohibiting the Florida Times-Union's parent company from disseminating live golf scores from PGA Tour events via the Internet.

"The district court's decision, if left uncorrected, would permit PGA Tour and others to subvert totally the media's First Amendment right to report the news and the public's corresponding right to receive the news," the organizations say in a friend of the court brief filed with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Those signing on include The New York Times Co., Newspaper Association of America and Associated Press Sports Editors.

The Tour has asked the appeals court to reject the brief.

"This case is an antitrust case, not a First Amendment case," Tour attorney James Riley asserted in a formal reply to the media brief.

Morris Communications Corp., based in Augusta, Ga., sued the Tour in 2000 over the right to sell real-time scores from golf tournaments to Internet customers. The Tour said it would revoke Morris' media credentials unless it agreed not to syndicate the scores live. It argued that it spent millions developing its own scoring system to provide real-time scores on its Internet site.

In December, U.S. District Judge Harvey Schlesinger held that the Tour has a property right in its scoring system until scores are in the public domain, which he described as occurring when they are broadcast.

Morris appealed Schlesinger's decision to the 11th Circuit. The fact that so many media organizations are on record supporting the company's position lends credence to its arguments, said Morris attorney Tim Conner.

"It's very important for this brief to have been submitted . . . because it shows a broad base of support from the media industry," Conner said.

The brief outlines First Amendment and copyright arguments against Schlesinger's decision and argues that the public, including the media, has unfettered rights to disseminate factual information. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.