Why Should Newspapers Agree To MLB's Rules On How They Can Report On Baseball Online?
from the no-need-to-compromise dept
Back in February, we noted that Major League Baseball (MLB) was following the NFL down the extremely slippery slope of putting in place restrictions concerning how reporters could report on baseball online. This included things like only very short video clips could be posted online, no more than 7 photos, and all non-text content had to be removed in 72-hours. If that all sounds like preventing reporters from doing their job, you’d be correct. As I suggested at the time, the answer should be for newspapers to simply ignore the rules and if MLB pulls their press passes to buy their reporters tickets to the games (rather than using press passes) or see how the teams feel without press coverage. While it appears that newspapers certainly were upset about these restrictions, rather than doing anything serious about it, they’ve apparently negotiated a “compromise.” The compromise allows newspapers to now host more video and audio content than the original restrictions, but everything still needs to be removed within 72-hours unless there’s a special exemption.
This is, of course, absolutely ridiculous. While it’s perfectly legal (reporters don’t need to get press passes, so the team can restrict them), it sets a tremendously bad precedent that journalists are allowing any outside control over how they can report on a game. This is all stemming from MLB’s incorrect belief that it “owns” everything having to do with Major League Baseball — and then wanting to artificially limit it so it can sell it to fans. Note that we’re not just talking about actual game data here — but interviews with the players that are conducted by the journalists. There’s simply no legitimate reason why newspapers should allow MLB to dictate what it can do with that content or how it can report on it. All that this will do is serve to limit the kind of innovative reporting and community building that the MLB should be encouraging. It’s a top down approach by an organization who thinks that only it can decide how people get access to news and info about the game. But it’s going to stop newspapers from putting in place their own, perhaps more useful, services for fans, and that will only serve to limit the fanbase. It’s upsetting that MLB would even try to do this and it’s a travesty that newspapers acquiesced, even to the supposed “compromise” solution. It’s opening the door to the MLB telling them what they can report on and any newspaper person should know better.