Today, Moshe received a Cease and Desist order via email from Major League Baseball Advanced Media. This order, with Moshe’s personal information blacked out, can be downloaded here.
MLBAM asked us to do the following:
Accordingly, demand is hereby made that you immediately cease and desist from using the YANKEE UNIVERSE name and the Logo, any other Yankees Mark and any other MLB mark in and as the name of your Website, to promote the Website, to seek advertising any other commercial opportunities, in and as the Domain Name, and in any other manner that would cause consumer confusion, dilution of the MLB Marks, or imply any sponsorship or endorsement of your Website or its contents by any MLB Entity.
I suggest reading the entire document. It’s quite interesting.
We have removed the Yankee logo from our website, and added a disclaimer to the top of the site explaining that we are in no way affiliated with the New York Yankees. We have also consulted several lawyers, and have some excellent legal advice behind us. We will be sending a letter of reply to MLBAM.
But I want to say something. Moshe, Steve, Chris, Rebecca, and I are baseball fans. We have never made a dime from this site. Moshe had placed a few ads in our sidebar to help cover the hosting and domain costs for the site, but we have never made any profit off them.
We started this site a year ago because we love to write and argue about baseball. We’ve amassed a modest following – roughly 1,500 unique visitors per day – but by no means are we any more than a normal baseball fan blog. MLBAM knows this. There is nothing on our site that even appears to be detrimental to the Yankee brand.
The truth is, we’re good for Major League Baseball and the Yankees. Bloggers like us help the league. We create interest, discussion, and new niches for the game. I know that reading blogs has made me a much bigger fan of the game, and I am sure that many of you had the same experience. Baseball has experienced an unprecedented period of growth that has coincided with the new predominance of baseball blogging on the internet.
What would MLBAM be without the hundreds of baseball blogs out there? And how many of those blogs use the names and images of teams? MLBAM is making a serious mistake by alienating its most important followers. Bloggers are called the “New Media” for a reason. The future of online media entails more people, not less, getting online and voicing their opinion. And that’s all we’re doing.
We believe that we are perfectly within our rights to use the term “Yankees” on our blog, and to use photos taken at Yankee Stadium with personal cameras. We do not think that any reasonable person can mistake our site for an official representation of the New York Yankees or MLBAM, but just to be sure we are adding a disclaimer to the top of this site. With little effort, I can count more than a dozen blogs by Yankee fans that use the word “Yankees” in its title. Do they all have to change?
I have written for four different blogs since 2006. It took me a long time to build up Fire Joe Torre and Pinstripes Potentials, and more than two years for Pending Pinstripes to reach its height. Along with Moshe, Chris, Steve, and others, I have worked very hard to build The Yankee Universe into a site that we can take pride in. We have a vibrant group of dedicated readers who share their thoughts in extensive and informative comments every day. We like what we have created.
Yankees Universe is a charity set up by The New York Yankees. We do not believe that our name is harming the charity in any way, and we would be happy to direct our modest amount of traffic toward www.yankeesuniverse.com with free advertising space on our sidebars and header. We would also be willing to change the disclaimer that we have added to the top of the site to meet any conditions required by the MLBAM.
Moshe, Chris, Steve, and I will do everything that we can to work with MLBAM to resolve this issue. We do not mean to pick a fight. We simply want all of our hard work over the past year to remain where it is.
We thank everyone reading for sticking with us over the past year. We’ve got a lot of fun things planned for the future, and hope to keep it all here, on The Yankee Universe.
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