US Risks Not Getting FIFA World Cup… Because It Won't Give FIFA Special Copyright Powers

from the don't-cave-in dept

The US is bidding on hosting the 2022 World Cup, and the decision will be made in a few weeks. Soccer’s governing body, FIFA, recently released its technical reports on all of the various bids, detailing things like the number of stadia available and what would need to be built should a country win, the availability of training grounds, hotel rooms, transportation and so on. The US scores very favorably on all of these accounts, but the bid has been labeled “medium risk” because

“the necessary government support has not been documented as neither the Government Guarantees, the Government Declaration nor the Government Legal Statement have been provided in compliance with FIFA’s requirements for government documents.”

Guess what that means? The US bid committee hasn’t secured a commitment from the US government that it will give FIFA the right to act as its own copyright cops and takeover the legal system so it can do things like criminalize wearing orange clothes. As the full FIFA report (PDF) puts it: “However, as the required guarantees, undertakings and confirmations are not given as part of Government Guarantee No. 6 (Protection and Exploitation of Commercial Rights) and mere reference is made to existing general intellectual property laws in the USA, FIFA’s rights protection programme cannot be ensured.”

It’s clear that FIFA expects carte blanche to set up its own special legal protection in any country that hosts the event; it gives the bid from Belgium and the Netherlands a black mark because it “contains no guarantees, undertakings or confirmations with legal effect beyond existing laws”. It also slates a number of countries for having “existing regulations… which adversely affect the free and unrestricted exploitation of media rights”. The report indicates that just three bids fully meet FIFA’s desire to have the ability to enact its own copyright and media laws: the human-rights hotbeds of Qatar and Russia, and the joint bid from Spain and Portugal.

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