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PGA Tour wins real time scoring law suit

A judge ruled Tuesday against a media company that sued the PGA Tour for the right to sell the tour's real-time scoring to other media outlets.

Morris Communications, which owns The Florida Times-Union and The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, said it would appeal the 34-page summary judgment.

"The judge ruled that golf scores are not in the public domain when they are presented in the media center, which is an interesting decision," said Julian Miller, president of The Augusta Chronicle. "The decision has broad implications to journalists, the reporting of news in general and to the public. We feel a responsibility to carry those issues forward on appeal."

The PGA Tour argued that it invested $26 million on a computerized scoring system, and that there was a difference between reporting news and selling the tour's proprietary information to third parties.

Morris sent two employees to each PGA Tour event in 2000, the year the antitrust lawsuit was filed. They worked in the media center and, using the PGA Tour scoring system, posted their own real-time scores for CNNSI.com and Morris news outlets.

"The court has agreed ... that the law protects the ability of the tour and other similar organizations to benefit from investment in proprietary scoring and other statistical data-gathering technologies," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said.


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