NCAA Ejects Reporter For Live-Blogging A Game

from the owning-facts dept

Major League Baseball has been one of the worst offenders when it comes to claiming ownership of the “facts” of a game, claiming that any outside description of the game is a violation — which clearly goes beyond both the intent and the letter of the law. It appears that the NCAA college-level baseball is copying their big brother in this attitude. Logan alerts us to the news that the NCAA forbade any reporters at the college regionals from issuing any kind of live reports during the game, and then ejected a reporter who was live blogging the game. This is bizarre for any number of reasons — especially since live blogging sporting events has become quite popular in the last year or two and is seen as a great way for fans to remain connected to the game. It’s tremendously beneficial to the game, so it’s hard to see the complaint. At the same time, the newspaper who employs the reporter appears to be overreacting just as bit as well, claiming this is a First Amendment issue. The NCAA certainly has the right to determine who gets a press pass and what the conditions are for that press pass (no matter how dumb those conditions are). If the reporter wants to live blog the game while watching it from seats purchased by the newspaper or on TV, the NCAA couldn’t stop him. The NCAA isn’t preventing him from live blogging the game entirely — just from doing so with a press pass. It may be incredibly stupid, but it’s hardly a First Amendment violation.


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Comments on “NCAA Ejects Reporter For Live-Blogging A Game”

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22 Comments
Beefcake says:

Re: 1

Sure they can– governments are often the target of these issues due to laws or policies enacted by them on the population, but by no means are they the only entity which can violate those rights.

In this case it isn’t a violation because the reporter had a contract with them not to do this as a condition of obtaining a press pass.

euclidjr says:

Re: Re: 1

Actually, LOL is right. Private entities cannot infringe on your constitutional rights – only governmental entities and their actors can. You have no right of free speech at my house, because it is my house. You can go stand in the street in front of my house and say whatever you want (within certain limitations) and I can’t do anything about that. Same goes with whatever conditions are placed on the press pass or even the general admission ticket to the game.

Charles Griswold (user link) says:

Re: Re: 1

Pssst… they can’t violate his 1st Amendment right – they are not a government entity.

Sure they can– governments are often the target of these issues due to laws or policies enacted by them on the population, but by no means are they the only entity which can violate those rights.

Perhaps we should cut right through the hyperbole and see what the First Amendment actually says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Note the operative word: “Congress”. Hence, private organizations cannot possibly infringe on your First Amendment rights.

SW says:

Re: Re: Re: 1

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The expansion of property rights is enforced by the government. Therefore, when individuals enforce property rights beyond those that were penned at the time of the constitution, they are abridging freedom of speech under the authority of the government. It is property rights, therefore, that are the mechanism by which people are made not free.

jgoemat says:

Re: Re: First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I don’t see anywhere it is claimed that congress passed a law banning this guy from games…

JM says:

1st Amendment

1st Amendment applies to Congress (i.e. the gov’t). “Congress shall make no law ….; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….” Ellipses do not affect the substance of the partial quote.

The Constitution provides the framework of gov’t behavior; its relationship to its constituent parts and its relationship to the governed. Not the relationship between members of the public, including corporate entities such as the NCAA and a newspaper company.

Seriously... says:

Beefcake, you are wrong. The constitution applies to the U.S. Government and no one else. The first five words of the bill of rights of the first amendment are “Congress shall make no law…”. The constitution is about limiting the powers of government, not regulating private entities. People often misconceive this.

Regardless, personal contracts do not supercede the constitution. So in this case, IF first amendment applied here (which it doesn’t) the contract would be void because it was unconstitutional.

Goat says:

Curve ball

The NCAA is completely in their right to stop him if they feel that blogging a game while sitting in the stands is infringing on their broadcasting rights and contracts.

The NCAA (and MLB for that matter) would rather have more ppl come to the game, listen to it on the radio, watch it on TV, or read the newspaper the next morning, so they can get more money from advertisers and what not. It’s all about the benjamins. It has nothing to do with his First Amendment rights.

Same rules apply to someone going into a movie theatre, and recording a movie and re-producting it. Just because you bought a ticket, doesn’t mean your entitled to the content, whether it’s a ball game or Ocean’s 13.

Now that being said, I do not agree with the NCAA and MLB on their gestapo tactics when it comes to the suppression of America’s favorite past time. But that is neither here nor there.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Curve ball

The NCAA is completely in their right to stop him if they feel that blogging a game while sitting in the stands is infringing on their broadcasting rights and contracts

No. The NCAA doesn’t get to decide what’s infringing on their rights. Simply blogging what’s happening is not infringement under any law.

The NCAA (and MLB for that matter) would rather have more ppl come to the game, listen to it on the radio, watch it on TV, or read the newspaper the next morning, so they can get more money from advertisers and what not.

In what world would a live blog actually take away from any of those things? If anything, it’s likely to increase the likelihood of all of those things.


Same rules apply to someone going into a movie theatre, and recording a movie and re-producting it. Just because you bought a ticket, doesn’t mean your entitled to the content, whether it’s a ball game or Ocean’s 13.

This isn’t recording a movie and reproducing it. This is blogging about what’s going on.

DML says:

It's about getting money from distribution channel

Yes live blogging is great for consumers, but it also gives people one less reason to watch games via a distribution channel (TV, radio) that the NCAA can wring money from.

It’d be no different from someone bringing a camcorder to a game, and broadcasting it. The NCAA doesn’t get ad revenue from that, so it doesn’t benefit them.

Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

Oh is ever refreshing to see others with a

knowledge, real knowledge of the US Constitution.

Yes, the 1st Ammendment applies only to Congress, forbiding laws that establish a state religion or abridge the freedom of speech and the press; the right to assemble.

Yes, private entities, companies, individuals CAN limit your speech. Just as I would limit your speech if you were to visit my home. Just as companies today limit your speech to not divulge secrets&proprietary information. Just as public areas have Noise Ordinances.

You cannot force your bad language on to me or my home.

P.S. that is not separation of church and state;
and that is the freedom to use assembly language.

Charles Griswold (user link) says:

Re: Oh is ever refreshing to see others with a

Yes, the 1st Ammendment applies only to Congress, forbiding laws that establish a state religion or abridge the freedom of speech and the press; the right to assemble.

Yes, private entities, companies, individuals CAN limit your speech. Just as I would limit your speech if you were to visit my home. Just as companies today limit your speech to not divulge secrets&proprietary information. Just as public areas have Noise Ordinances.

Right. I would like to add that our Constitutionally protected freedoms are not absolute.

Freedom of speech does not mean that you can say anything you want without fear of reprisal. You can definitely be slapped for committing slander or libel, and blabbing State secrets can get you life in solitary confinement.

Freedom of religion does not mean that you do anything you want in the name of religion. Human sacrifice is illegal regardless of what religion you claim to belong to.

And etcetera. Too many people believe that “freedom” means freedom of responsibility for their actions, and that was not at all the intention of the Bill of Rights.

/soapbox rant

Beefcake says:

Re: So what all you constitutional law experts are

This all may be the case– it seems weird and I’m no lawyer, but fine. For the sake of argument, I’ll concede that individuals for some reason are allowed to trample one another’s civil rights.

But does the fact that the NCAA was created by order of a sitting President of the United States (Theodore Roosevelt in 1906) play into this at all? The President isn’t “Congress” after all, but I think we’d all agree it’s a role within the government.

Beefcake says:

Re: Re: So what all you constitutional law experts

Okay, upon further reading even that fact may not be quite as advertised, though I will say that this statement is on the NCAA’s own website fact-sheet:

“The NCAA was founded in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt as a result of numerous injuries and deaths caused by college football’s flying wedge.”

Peace y’all.

Charles Griswold (user link) says:

Re: So what all you constitutional law experts are

If someone is standing in a public place and you stop them from saying expressing something you disagree with, you aren’t infringing on their First Amendment rights.

Depending on the circumstances and the methods used it would probably be illegal, but it would not be a violation of the First Amendment.

BTW, I don’t claim to be an “expert” on constitutional law; I can, however, read the Constitution and understand what it says. Once you have a basic understanding of the language and mindset of the Founders, it’s not really that difficult to understand the Constitution.

Sick of Techdirt says:

Same old article

I’m not one to complain or even offer my opinion since, by the time I get around to reading these articles, I already agree with many of the comments. However I’ve noticed in recent weeks I’ve been following Techdirt articles less and less. I’ve just realized why. Most of the articles have stopped reporting technology and seem to focus mainly on patent/copyright/intellectual property. While I agree with most of the authors opinions I find it monotonous to continually read articles that subscribe to the following formula:

XYZ [company | organization] is suing the smaller ABC [company | organization] because XYZ obviously misread “I” statue of “J” law. While XYZ no doubt stands to profit from ABC [quoting | copying | referencing | parodying{it is a word} | mentioning] XYZ and the additional attention it brings to XYZ it surprises Techdirt that XYZ would pursue legal action against ABC.

I’m taking Techdirt off my iGoogle and I’ll just refer back to the previous paragraph to keep up to date on current happenings.

djlosch (user link) says:

no first amendment, but still arbitrary.

@SW, the Shelley v. Kraemer enforcement argument is a very, very narrow holding. I don’t think a single court has ever applied that to free speech.

As for the live blogging restriction, it’s kind of silly that you’re not allowed to blog it live too much there, but you can broadcast the entire incident. You can also blog based off of the video feeds that others broadcast. It seems rather arbitrary.

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