NFL Still Thinks It Can Tell News Organizations How They Can Report The News

from the that's-not-how-this-all-works dept

Back in July, we couldn’t figure out how the NFL could get away with telling news organizations that they could only put 45 seconds of video online that had either game clips or videos of players. This made no sense. The NFL does not have any right to determine how reporters report the news. If they conduct their own interviews with players or film their own footage, they should be able to broadcast as much of it as they feel appropriate. They also shouldn’t (as demanded by the NFL) have to link back to the NFL’s official website. While these may be what the NFL wants, it has no way of actually enforcing this — as news reporters don’t need the NFL’s permission to broadcast an interview they filmed with a player. However, it still seems like broadcasters aren’t up to challenging the NFL on this bogus rule. Reader Jon writes in to let us know that the NFL (how kind of it) has exempted NBC, CBS, Fox and ESPN from these rules. However, the reasoning isn’t that the NFL never had the right to demand such things of news organizations in the first place — but that these TV networks have already paid fees to the NFL averaging more than $3 billion a year. Therefore, the NFL figures, they might as well post slightly more video online. Of course, this is still ridiculous. If any news organization wants to film their own interviews with players and broadcast them online, that’s between the player being interviewed and the news organization. The NFL should have no say at all over what a news organization can or cannot post on their website. Any news organization going along with these restrictions should have its journalistic integrity questioned, since they’re allowing the subjects of a story to dictate how they present the news.

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Comments on “NFL Still Thinks It Can Tell News Organizations How They Can Report The News”

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Kevin says:

Re: Re:

For example I know that when HBO has a championship fight on a Sat nite lets say, ESPN can only show so much of the fight footage when they are reporting on the winner later that night. I don’t know if this is anything new

That’s because ESPN has to use HBO’s footage of the event to report the news. They’re usually allowed to use a portion of it (I believe that it falls under the Fair Use doctrine), but they can’t replay the whole thing in it’s entirety. And more to the point, if they have to go to HBO to get the footage then HBO gets to tell them how much of it can be used and in what way.

What the article is talking about is the NFL trying to put restrictions on the media on how they use their own footage of games and players. That’s something that they have no right to do whatsoever.

Q says:

I have to admit this is a BS rule. But the NFL does have the ability to enforce this. It’s kind of hard to post a video of an interview when the NFL has denied you access to the player and/or the team has a whole. The only hay to get that interview is by doing it away from the teams HQ. How many players do you think are going to be willing to do that?

Les B. Labbauf says:

NFL Has Bullied Networks Before

Just look at what the NFL did to ESPN getting them to cancel the “Fantasy” series PLAYMAKERS. It’s interesting that Professional Football “Soap Opera” that parodied the NFL was canceled due to “Bad Ratings”. I am sure it wasn’t because it was a reflection of what was actually happening in the NFL.

Sean (user link) says:

Oh really???

Of course the NFL can’t stop reporters from reporting the news, but how do you think the news organisations got the footage of the game in the first place? By signing on the dotted line to get their cameras into the stadium of course (or to access the shared resources). As for conducting off-stadium interviews, I reckon “no unauthorised interviews” are a standard clause in player contracts nowadays.
And this is SO off-topic, this belongs in an NFL forum, not a techie one. I couldn’t care less about NFL and now I’ve wasted 5 minutes reading this rubbish and worse, replying.

Name says:

Re: Re: NFL

The NFL is the ultimate advertisement/commercials vehicle. I swear they modify the rules every year so more commercials can be fit into a game.

i.e. Why do we need a 5 minute commercial break after each score? Most players only play offense or defense so I don’t see why that long of a break is needed.

team A scores -> 5 minute break -> team B returns kick off for touchdown -> 5 minute break.

Come on thats 10 minutes of commercials and about 20 seconds of actual gameplay.

Sam Cornwell (user link) says:

They have every right

Just like you can’t walk into a theater and video tape a movie, you can’t do that with an NFL game.

Any press in the stadium must follow guidelines to what they can and can not show, or they won’t be allowed in.

As is stated above, interviews that are done on a players own time and are allowed by their contract are free game.

The NFL is an entertainment business.

(and unsubscribe…)

RandomThoughts (user link) says:

It really isn’t a legal issue, if the media wants access to the “news” which is the game and the players, they have to agree to play by the NFL’s rules. If someone in the media decided to rent a plane and fly over the stadium and film the game, there probably isn’t much the NFL could do about it. Course, you might have Homeland Defense coming after you.

There are folks that take pictures of Cubs games from the rooftop across from Wrigley (greatest ballpark ever) and there isn’t anything MLB can do about it. Course, if it pissed them off enough, they would just buy the building.

Dan says:

my view on this.

Saying they can not film in areas where they can legally enforce it is legal, and they should have the right to do so. However, by saying it is limited and defining what those limits are, then it becomes an issue. When limiting rather than blocking, the NFL is effectivly saying it owns the video that another records. This is NOT protected by copyright (well not the NFL’s copyright atleast), so that is a non issue (and if it is made an issue, it shouldn’t be), though weither or not they have rights to limit what happens to the film is somewhat iffy if contracts are involved.

With the 45 second rule, if it is from the offical broadcast, then they have no rights to regulate fair use, so they can’t tell bloggers to remove something protected by fair use 24 hours after uploading it, or limit all footage to 45 seconds. They may have the right to prevent camras in the stadium but they can not claim ownership of the copyright of something that is filmed not by them.

Jared says:

Re: my view on this.

Fair use. What a quaint idea. The NFL and MLB don’t believe in fair use. I think MLB is the worse offender but they’re both appallingly bad at their draconian control obsession over any and all information related to the sports. I wonder if there would be any way to get together a class action lawsuit against either or both leagues. It would be interesting to find out. Somebody needs to smack them down.

Sanguine Dream says:

And this is why I TiVo...

team A scores -> 5 minute break -> team B returns kick off for touchdown -> 5 minute break

I don’t watch too many NFL games but the few that I do watch I TiVo so I skip the ads.

and it’s more like…

team A scores -> 5 minute break -> team B returns kick off for touchdown -> 5 minute break -> team A returns kick off to 50yr line -> 5 minute break -> A gets a First Down -> 5 minute break -> A is 3rd and 4 -> 5 minute break…

A football game is suppposed be four 15min. quarters. That’s one hour. Even if you count timeouts, the time between scoring and kickoff, and injuries we’d have maybe 1 1/2 hr. But when is the last time an NFL game has taken less then three hours? And mind you your guide may say that the game is going to be from 4pm to 7pm but it almost always goes to 7:15 or later WITHOUT overtime.

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