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NPB players lose their appeal, NPB clubs can freely use names and images for merchandising

by on Jun.16, 2010 @ 5:04 pm, under NPB

6/17/2010 1:33am JST

Comments from Arai and the NPB.

Arai: This ruling is very unfortunate.  In most cases, player name and image rights belong to the actual players.  I guess we'll have to work alongside the Supreme Courts ruling and figure out how to move forward from here.

NPB: The clubs will continue being able to use player names and images on products for the fans.  With the ruling from the Supreme Courts, we'll do our best to continue creating merchandise that fans will love.

6/16/2010 5:04pm JST

The Supreme Court ruled (dated to the 15th) in favor of the 12 NPB teams in a case that was originally brought to trial on 8/2006 and ultimately appealed to the Supreme Court.

29 players, including Takahiro Arai, from 10 NPB teams, filed the appeal.

The lawsuit was brought before the courts over the wording contained in the general contracts signed between the players and the 12 NPB clubs that covered how the NPB clubs could use the player's name and images.

The clause in the contracts state that the NPB clubs can use a player names and images in whatever manner they see fit, provided that it's for advertising purposes.  The players, however, felt this didn't cover merchandising (like in video games and baseball cards).

The lower level courts both ruled that merchandising ultimately helped to disseminate NPB brand and that it therefore fell well within the range of "advertising purposes."  The Supreme Court agreed with the lower courts and dismissed the appeal.