Sunday, November 10, 2013

Morris Communications Corporation v. PGA Tour case brief

Morris Communications Corporation v. PGA Tour case brief summary
235 F.Supp.2d 1269 (2002)

Defendant, promoter of professional golf tournaments (promoter), moved for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 in plaintiff newspaper corporation's action alleging violations of § 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 2.

The newspaper corporation, which published a number of Internet-based electronic newspapers, sued the promoter, contending that the promoter committed antitrust violations by conditioning access to its golf tournaments on the newspaper corporation's agreement to delay publishing on its electronic newspapers "real-time" golf scores obtained from the tournaments' one-site media centers.

On the promoter's motion for summary judgment, the court determined that the newspaper corporation sought to free-ride on the promoter's efforts in obtaining and providing golf scores. The promoter had a property right in the scores complied by its own real-time scoring system, in which it had invested millions of dollars, but that property right vanished when the scores were in the public domain. The promoter also had a right to sell or license the scores on the Internet. The promoter was entitled to summary judgment on the monopolization claim because the promoter did not have monopoly power, as output of the golf scores had not been reduced, and the promoter had valid business reasons to explain its actions. The promoter was granted summary judgment on the unlawful refusal to deal claim.

The promoter's motion for summary judgment was granted in the newspaper corporation's antitrust action.

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