FTC Asked To Stop Bogus Copyright Warnings In Sports Broadcasts

from the stop-the-copyright-abuse dept

You may recall earlier this year that law professor Wendy Seltzer received a DMCA takedown notice from the NFL for posting a short clip to YouTube of the part during the Super Bowl where the announcers state the famous warning that often reads something like “Any rebroadcast, reproduction or other use of the pictures, accounts or descriptions of this game without the express written consent of Big Sports League, is prohibited.” What got lost in the Seltzer story over whether or not posting that particular clip to YouTube was legal, was that her point in using it was to show how sports leagues were making claims to rights that copyright didn’t actually give them. It appears that enough others have noticed this as well that a trade group, backed by various big name tech companies, is now asking the Federal Trade Commission to prevent broadcasters from making such “deceptive” copyright statements. The group is claiming that this incorrect statement that clearly reaches beyond the rights copyright provides, is harmful to consumers and technology companies. Of course, in the sports leagues’ (and other content companies’) defense, it appears that plenty of people ignore the bogus copyright warning anyway.

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Companies: mlb, nfl

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Comments on “FTC Asked To Stop Bogus Copyright Warnings In Sports Broadcasts”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I hope...

…that the particular defense doesn’t work. That’s basically saying “well, yea, it’s an illegal rule, but people don’t follow it anyway, so we should be allowed to continue saying its a rule.”

If that’s their strongest defense, I don’t see why they should win, other than from moronic and/or paid judges.

Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

Wow (c), sanity comes to the government(c);

I wonder(c), if the FTC will actually make the ProSports broadcast(c) take down their copyright(c) notices.

My bet is the broadcast and the copyright(c) notices will continue, ignoring the governement(c) request(c).

The opinions expressed(c) herein(c) are solely the property of the opined(c), whatever opined means(c).

Oh, yeah, first(c).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Please describe how the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) not related to technology? While you are at it, also describe how discussing legal issues which one of the two parties doesn’t want you to know about, doesn’t fall under the category of talking “dirt”. Making a comment and not being able to back it up, makes your comment NULL.

Buzz (profile) says:


I never really thought that it would come to this. The NFL actually believes they can own facts down to the point where even talking about them is illegal. Back in the day, the NFL’s broadcast was superior to just about anything out there, so no one complained about using the NFL’s means of finding out about the games. Now, with so many portable electronics at fans’ disposal, the NFL’s means are being challenged. So, what do they do? They attempt to ban them all instead of offer their own superior service. Are blogs the hot item? Hire the best bloggers and make it official. Are YouTube videos the hot item? Post several official videos there!

The NFL is so obsessed with control that it is sickening. I am glad that I am one who embraces the information age and adapts appropriately. I will never engage in an information war with my customers. I will sell my tangible goods and release the digital ones.

Anonymous Coward says:


This should also attack the NFL limiting media outlets to 45 seconds of onlien video or audio with league or team personal per day. They want them all to go to their offical site…NFL.com to watch videos. Of course, the clips are already “banned” on youtube, et al.

If you have WSJ access, read this article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118454824975767224.html

Denver D says:

Question for the professionals?

I have just started my own outdoor movie and video presentation company. I now have the clients who rent my giant outdoor systems acquire licensing for their selected movies through a licensing agent. Now the relevance:

If I were to project a 4o foot image of an NFL game in a public place using the signal from the local over the air broadcaster, should I be waiting for the Gestapo to show up? I learned in college that the airwaves belong to the public and are policed by the FCC. Am I wrong? If I setup a 2 mile long coax or satellite dish and then did it I would understand. But these air the public airwaves, aren’t they?

Seriously. Any tidbits and advice would help.

Enrico Suarve says:

Re: Re: Re: Question for the professionals?

Yeah but he’s not the one using the eq – he’s just providing it

The bar equivalent would be if a sports bar bought all its TVs from Walmart and then showed sports games without a license – in that case you wouldn’t be able to sue Walmart or the installations company

Another example would be if a hire car were used in a robbery – you wouldn’t sue the hire company

I think that as long as he’s not selecting the channels himself and isn’t making money by directly renting these units as ‘sports view’ he should be OK. It would probably also help if he informed your customer somewhere that use of the units for the purpose of viewing sporting feeds etc without a license may make them liable for infringment

I’m not a lawyer (just an IT guy) buts that’s the way it plays out in my head

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