Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Technological advancements have created an emergent challenge for organizations attempting to monetize real-time information. Real-time data as a commodity is especially relevant in the sports industry. Sports leagues increasingly seek to control the dissemination of real-time data in conjunction with lucrative distribution agreements. We analyze the legal status of real-time sports data under both intellectual property law and the First Amendment, with our case-by-case analysis extending to spectators, gamblers, journalists, and non-gambling entrepreneurs. Although we conclude that the First Amendment protections are broad across all four categories, particularly when the underlying sporting event takes place on public land, we find discrete areas where sports leagues and event organizers may claim certain types of real-time data as proprietary, bolstering their ability to sell such data and preventing others from doing the same.

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