Congress Wants To Separate Church And NFL From Copyright Laws
from the keep-'em-separated dept
Following a second year of stories about the NFL stopping churches from throwing Superbowl parties if they have TV screens larger than 55″, it appears that some folks in Congress are stepping up to create an exception in copyright law for “houses of worship.” For everyone else, the 55″ limit would prevail, but churches would now be allowed to show “The Big Game” without worrying about copyright infringement charges. It’s not clear why churches deserve an exemption to this law (or why the 55″ limit is in the law in the first place), but don’t expect that to stop politicians from jumping on a popular bandwagon issue.
Still, it’s fun to watch people who clearly have no understanding of what’s going on weigh in on the topic — sometimes in well known publications. Witness a columnist for the Boston Herald who is upset about the proposed change, but for the wrong reasons. First, he appears to not understand the difference between copyright and trademark, claiming that the NFL has to enforce its copyright or it will lose it (that would actually be trademark, but who’s fact checking?). He then goes on to state that “the copyrights are private property, and the league has every right within the law to profit from that property.” Indeed, but banning 55″ screens doesn’t prevent the NFL’s right to profit. In fact, this gets even more ridiculous when the guy says: “To have the government in effect confiscate that property to benefit religious institutions seems a very worrisome precedent.” Wait, and having the government in effect determine the maximum size of a private TV isn’t a worrisome precedent?