Judge: MasterCard ads not copied
MINNEAPOLIS -- A federal judge has ruled that a segment of MasterCard's 2001 "priceless" TV advertising campaign was not copied from a documentary made by two Minnesota Twins fans who traveled cross country visiting major league baseball stadiums.
U.S. District Court Judge Joan Ericksen ruled Friday that MasterCard did not violate copyright laws with the campaign created by its advertising agency, McCann-Erickson USA, showing a similar trek.
In their copyright infringement lawsuit, filed in Minneapolis, David Hoch and Joe Marble had accused MasterCard and McCann-Erickson of duplicating their 1998 documentary in commercials broadcast during the 2001 World Series.
The MasterCard spots showed two younger men on a quest to drive to every major league baseball stadium.
But the judge ruled that baseball road-trip narratives are common and said the pace of the 1998 Hoch-Marble documentary was considerably more methodical than the MasterCard advertisements.
"No reasonable person could find these two works to be substantially similar," the judge said.