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I recently started a MLB baseball website. On the site, we focus on covering the Kansas City Royals and all of the Royals' minor league affiliate teams. For each minor league affiliate, I receive all team press releases and all other media releases, including: pre-game notes, post-game notes, series notes, roster transactions and everything else offered to the media by the teams.

I am new to this aspect of sports writing, so I am unfamiliar with the etiquette. Are these releases meant to be published as is? Are they meant to be an aid in writing my own articles on the topic? How are the press releases supposed to be cited, since many times there is not an actual publicly available copy on the teams' websites?

Any additional advice on how to use press releases would be greatly appreciated as well.

Thanks.

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How you use this material is ultimately up to you and will depend on how you structure your site. If you are basically just providing a stopping point for fans to come and obtain this information, then use it as is and attribute the information to the team. Below is an example on how you might do this.

Press Release - 6/16/2012 - Baltimore Orioles

If you choose to write your own stories based on this information, then you should still provide attribution so that readers know the source of your information. These press releases and other information are just sources, and as such should be acknowledged. One way to do this would be to provide a closing tagline such as this:

This article written with the assistance of information provided by the Baltimore Orioles.

If you were actually at the game or heard ot in the radio or something, then you might mention that in your article, but that would the only case in which attribution would not be directly necessary.

You should also have a copyright notice on your site that states that all information pertaining to each team is the property of MLB and may not be reproduced without their express written permission. (MLB.com will have more specific guidelines.)

This of course brings up another point. Have you yourself obtained that "express written permission"? I used to be a co-owner of a fantasy baseball site, and over ten years ago MLB became the sole owner and executor of ALL things related to professional baseball in the United States and abroad. At the time our site was active, we received promotional materials straight from the actual teams, and we then gave those materials as prizes. We received a notice from MLB that we could no longer use the logos, team names, team statistics, or any promotional materials for any specific team without first agreeing to a licensing contract. We also received a notice from the MLBPA (player's association) that we could no longer use a player's name or likeness, his individual stats (which were now fully owned by MLB), or even his uniform number in reference to a specific team without signing a licensing contract with them AND MLB!

MLB has become extremely protective of their brand and all materials associated with it, and if there is even a chance that you might profit in any way from your activities, they will definitely want their share first. I would suggest you check very closely on the sources of your information to see what the terms of use are before making any effort to share this information with the general public.

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Thank you for this answer. It was extremely helpful. –  Travis Pflanz Jun 25 '12 at 17:55
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