Court Spikes Copyright Claim Against NFL, Goodell, Over Saints Marketing Document

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By Tamlin Bason

Feb. 9 — A woman who sent an unsolicited marketing proposal to the New Orleans Saints football team failed to plausibly allege copyright infringement in a complaint against the National Football League and Commissioner Roger Goodell, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana held Feb. 5.

Dismissing the pro se plaintiff's $11 million claim, the court determined that there were no plausible allegations that the 20-page “Fantasy Football Parade Extravaganza” incorporated any copyrightable material, much less that such material had been infringed.

The document in question “includes ideas related to an infomercial, parade, half-time show, new dance routines for the Saintsations dance team, and new football uniforms, and quotes several studies regarding football team ticket sales,” the court noted.

But, even if the complaint had alleged that the team, the NFL or Goodell had copied and implemented her ideas—and it did not—“copyright law does not protect ideas or facts, but rather protects the particular expression of ideas or facts,” Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown said.

The defendants were represented by Stone, Pigman, Walther, Wittmann LLC.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tamlin Bason in Washington at tbason@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom P. Taylor at ttaylor@bna.com

Full text at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/Smith_v_Goodell_et_al_Docket_No_214cv01010_ED_La_May_02_2014_Cour.