Did The FCC 'Rebroadcast Or Retransmit An Account' Of MLB Game On Twitter?

from the bogus-copyright-claims dept

You all know the routine. Towards the end of the sporting event you're watching, one of the announcers will remind the audience that the sports league in question holds the copyright, and you can't do a damn thing about it. It's slightly different per league, but the NFL one reads: "This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience. Any other use of this telecast or of any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent, is prohibited." We wrote about that a few years back when law professor Wendy Seltzer posted a clip of just that NFL warning to show how the NFL was exaggerating its rights... and got a takedown notice. The MLB one is a bit different. It reads: "Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or account of this game, without the express written consent of Major League Baseball, is prohibited." We wrote about that one because one guy asked MLB for permission to describe a game to his friend, and MLB wouldn't give it. The FTC has been asked to stop sports leagues from making such overly broad (and legally misleading) claims, but hasn't done anything.

I'm reminded about all of this because, as a part of the silly retransmission fight between Fox and Cablevision, where some viewers were blocked from seeing some of the MLB postseason games airing on Fox, apparently the FCC decided to make something of a statement on the issue by tweeting an ongoing account of one of the blacked out games, along with a link to its own consumer alert about the retransmission fight. Here's an example tweet from the FCC's official Twitter account:
Matt Cain relieved after 7 strong, 2 H, 0 ER. Giants scored on two singles, throwing error. SF up 3-0 top 9
Of course, this has some questioning whether or not the FCC just did a rebroadcast or retransmission of an account of the game without (one assumes) express written consent of Major League Baseball. Of course, MLB's random attempts to enforce its bogus claims of ownership on data have all failed, and I'm sure it knows better than to take on the FCC in a losing cause, but it does a nice job of highlighting just how ridiculous the "warning" is from the MLB, and makes you wonder why the FTC doesn't crack down on what appears to be copyfraud.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 5:47am

    Well, those are just facts

    and you can't copyright facts, right? :)
    Oh wait, the big sports federations in all their greed, have tried to declare facts copyrightable.

    In any case, you got a fair point Mike.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:19am

      Re: Well, those are just facts

      To argue the opposite side--if the players were following a script, then it's a performance, not a fact. Therefore, covered by copyright.

      Plus, bus schedules are works of fiction, also copyrightable.

       

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        Marcel de Jong (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:51am

        Re: Re: Well, those are just facts

        I knew something was wrong with pro-sports... Now I know, it's just as real as all those "non-scripted" reality shows.

        Screenplay for a baseball match:

        TEAM A at TEAM B's stadium

        Player X is on bat

        Pitcher Y throws a fast ball

        Player X misses

        Referee: "STRIKE!"

        [crowd boos]

        Pitcher Y throws a curve ball.

        Referee: "BALL!"

        Pitcher Y throws another fast ball.

        Player X connects and sends it flying out the park

        [Crowd cheers]

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 7:18am

          Re: Re: Re: Well, those are just facts

          "I knew something was wrong with pro-sports... Now I know, it's just as real as all those "non-scripted" reality shows."

          Please Google Tim Donaghy for an example of why this isn't so far fetched....

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 9:29am

          Re: Re: Re: Well, those are just facts

          If sports were scripted, it would really explain why there are bad calls. The player adlibed, and the ref/ump is just reading off the script to get the game back on track.
          Maybe that's why soccer doesn't want instant replay, so that people don't find out about the scripts.

           

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:08am

    I'm sure nobody is using the hundreds of applets that let you stream video to anywhere in the world. No Sr. nobody is using that.

    FFMPEG, VLC and MPLayer are just some of those.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:27am

    scrips

    so mabe MLB is in fact scripting these games and it is a copyright issue.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:31am

    Stunt

    First off, doesn't it seem weird that a government agency pulls a stunt to "make something of a statement"? If they wanted to make a statement, couldn't they just call a press conference? Sure, I think it's kind of funny that they tweeted the facts of a MLB game, but it just seems on the petty side to me.

    Secondly, the FCC shouldn't care if some sporting events are blacked out as part of a contract negotiation. The only reason that it's an issue in the first place is that we don't have real competition in that space. If the FCC really wanted to help, they'd promote a system where people could just get their shows from another source instead of being held hostage to the single source.

     

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    abc gum, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:38am

    Attention - watercooler discussions of last nights game are prohibited.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 7:02am

    "why the FTC doesn't crack down"?

    Well, in large part because it'd result in being cast as villain up against players beloved by masses of dolts as "heroes". Just not a winning proposition for PR. Sports are a large part of the "circuses" used to pacify the masses.

     

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      nasch (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 8:03am

      Re: "why the FTC doesn't crack down"?

      I don't think sports fans are as stupid as you think. Most of them could recognize the difference between reining in the leagues, and attacking the players.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 7:10am

    So does this mean that Tyler Durden would be guilty of "copyfraud" for the first two rules of fight club?

     

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    Berenerd (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 7:26am

    Hmmm...

    If the NFL and MLB are making these overly broad claims...that would be fiction and under copyright...Mike...YOU JUST BROKE THE LAW FOR QUOTING THEM! ZOMG!!! THIEF!

     

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    Comboman (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 9:05am

    Obligatory Simpsons Quote

    "See that ship over there? They’re re-broadcasting Major League Baseball with implied oral consent, not express written consent — or so the legend goes."
    - Homer Simpson

     

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    information fan, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 10:28am

    Are they facts or news?

    Based on an earlier article here, the AP can start claiming the game is news, and take the copyright away from everyone!

     

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    Xyro TR1 (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 2:21pm

    I watched the local news channel the other night, and when the sports broadcaster came on for the 10:00 news, he said that he would /like/ to broadcast highlights of the just-finished baseball game, but he couldn't because of the "stupid" rebroadcast rights that the MLB had in place.

     

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