English Premier League Apparently Wants Fans To Hate It Even More: Threatens To Pull Down Vines And Animated GIFs

from the because-the-premier-league-is-stupid dept

There’s a line of thought that appears sometimes in copyright debates that simply leaves me completely… flabbergasted. It’s the idea that you have to go after and stop infringement because it’s infringement, period. Even if you point out that stopping the infringement is costly and probably counterproductive, there’s this belief that “infringement must be stopped at all costs.” I’ve even had explanations where people insist that even if stopping piracy harms a market, it still must be stopped “because it’s piracy.” People who fear that infringement hurts markets — I can understand, even if the evidence doesn’t always support it. But people who insist that it must be stopped, no matter what the cost, are simply people I cannot understand at all.

And yet that seems to be happening with the English Premier League. No doubt, the Premier League has something of a history of ridiculous overreaction to intellectual property issues, including suing YouTube because people had uploaded clips of games. This was a few years after threatening to sue the fans themselves.

The latest is that the Premiere League has warned fans that it’s going to shut down any attempts at sharing Vines or animated gifs of goals. The reasoning seems to be purely about “it’s the law!”

In an interview with Newsbeat, Dan Johnson, director of communications at the Premier League, said: “You can understand that fans see something, they can capture it, they can share it, but ultimately it is against the law.”

“It’s a breach of copyright and we would discourage fans from doing it, we’re developing technologies like gif crawlers, Vine crawlers, working with Twitter to look to curtail this kind of activity.”

As for the fact that this might piss off fans? The Premier League doesn’t care. At all.

He added: “I know it sounds as if we’re killjoys but we have to protect our intellectual property.”

Actually, no, you don’t “have to protect” your intellectual property. In fact, if it’s stupid to do so — pissing off fans and angering the very people who pay the bills, it seems like a bad idea. But the Premier League doesn’t seem to care about that at all. It’s just taking the “we must protect our IP” view of it all. Because.

Of course, there’s a strong argument that, here in the US, the use of such things would be clearly fair use. Unfortunately, however, the UK doesn’t have fair use, and the entertainment industry has fought hard against allowing it, saying it would harm innovation.

So, the end result is the Premier League “protects” its intellectual property, pisses off fans, and basically misses out on pretty much any chance for remaining fans to bring other non-fans to the sport. It doesn’t make any sense, but, again, it seems to come from a mindset that just is incomprehensible to me.

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Comments on “English Premier League Apparently Wants Fans To Hate It Even More: Threatens To Pull Down Vines And Animated GIFs”

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51 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Someone remind me again, why do people continue to be fans of groups that outright and blatantly hate and hold contempt for their fans/customers?

Seems to me the better response from fans, after being shown such contempt would be ‘Oh, so you don’t want us involved with your sports/show/game/music? Works for us, there’s plenty of other sources of entertainment to go to, sources that don’t insist on total control at the cost of any creativity or involvement on the part of the customers/fans.’

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

From the end of Ars Technica’s poorly written article on the subject:

“Fans can watch goals legally by paying £8 a month to subscribe to Sun+, a service from The Sun newspaper, the BBC noted.”

The EPL or one of it’s partners at least is attempting to make clips of the goals part of a paid service. Only to have some of their fans rip the clips from the broadcasts and share them all over social media. Pretty much destroying the value of the clips in as far as an incentive to use the premium service.

So it’s no surprise that they’d be rather miffed about fans sharing clips all over the place.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

If someone is a big enough fan of the sport/teams that a simple 6-second clip and/or gif is of interest to them, odds are they would have no problem paying for a service that incorporates those clips, if the service was offered in a reasonable manner, and had more to it than just short clips of goals.

The only way vines/gifs would present a real threat to that service is if they didn’t offer anything of significance beyond the goal footage, such that the vines/gifs were a worthwhile substitute to their meager offering.

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

Re: Fans

That is exactly the problem with a lot of things.

I don’t think it matters what sports fans get pissed off or excited about, as long as they get pissed off or excited, they are satisfied. Which is why we have ridiculously subsidized sports with high profit, and why it doesn’t matter how much the price of attendance or other access is increased, or how poorly and idiotically fans are treated. No significant number of consumers will ever walk away. So what you have is a triangle stupid: the bad aspects of the law, those who wish it enforced maximally even against their own interests, and the consumers who keep paying against their own interests or enjoyment.

Why would anything ever change in the opposite direction?

I don’t know the answer to your question. Which was rhetorical to begin with, I’m sure. 😉

TestPilotDummy says:

Re: Re: Fans

I’ll go ahead and say it now. Watchout for Rising SPORTS MEMORABILIA Value. right.

Since the OLDER it is the LESS FASCIST

lol

Now where’s my Solid Silver MEDAL

Anyone bother to analyze the so-called fsckin gold, silver medals of the last couple of sport orgies?

aye now, one thing, I ain’t saying don’t workout, or do your OWN sports. Grep that. fsck grok

peace

Dreddsnik says:

Re: Re:

I don’t understand this myself. I live in ‘Bears’ territory. They treat the locals like the snot from their nose when they go to restaurants. They’re openly contemptuous os the ‘smallfolk’, and yet, everyone still thinks they’re ‘awesome’ and it’s a privilege for us to have them around. It’s almost like ‘professional’ sports switches off something in peoples brains. I really don’t get it.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Excelent. Supply and demand have always been superior forces in the marketplace.

Now is they could organize some sort of ‘Academy Award’ type competition for the acting that goes on when ‘love tapped’ by an opposing player. Then they might have an actual venue to make some money.

Acting classes by players for those in the performing arts by appointment only.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Of course, there’s a strong argument that, here in the US, the use of such things would be clearly fair use.”

Variations of this sentence have started to appear over the course of the past few months in virtually every article you author talking about the use of material from a work secured under copyright law. I am left wondering if there are any circumstances where you would agree that there is clearly no argument that can be presented with a straight face that fair use is a viable defense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That’s why I quit watching sports. I can pay $15 a month and get all the unlimited interaction I desire.

vs NFL….. $300 for 3 hours, or $100/hr, for one day only. That’s just for the seats. Not including drinks, food, candy, beer, souvenirs.

They can keep their 6 seconds, and die a slow, boring death.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If the majority of the value of a game exists in a 6 second span, nobody would watch the game in the first place. I know a lot of people who love soccer, but they love watching the entire game, not just the winning goal. I doubt if any one of them would pay a premium to see just the goal, so the real economic value isn’t there.

Seems like fair use to me.

JMT says:

Re: Re:

“Variations of this sentence have started to appear over the course of the past few months in virtually every article you author talking about the use of material from a work secured under copyright law.”

Do you know the saying that “dog bites man” is not worth writing about but “man bites dog” is? Fair use is a very important topic at Techdirt, and when fair use is abused then it gets written about. It shouldn’t take above average levels of intelligence to work this out…

“I am left wondering if there are any circumstances where you would agree that there is clearly no argument that can be presented with a straight face that fair use is a viable defense.”

Y’know all those things TD hasn’t written about? Maybe it’s them.

Beech says:

Re: Re:

Well that’s because you have to look at the representative sample. If there is an instance of a person or group doing something stupid with copyright, like taking down content despite fair use, techdirt writes about it. It’s kind of their thing. Someone legitimately taking down actual infringing content isn’t really much of a story. Techdirt highlights the abuses, not the times it actually works.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Variations of this sentence have started to appear over the course of the past few months in virtually every article you author talking about the use of material from a work secured under copyright law. I am left wondering if there are any circumstances where you would agree that there is clearly no argument that can be presented with a straight face that fair use is a viable defense.

Obviously lots of things are infringing and not fair use. And, of course, we’re quite fine with calling out cases where people claim fair use and we disagree: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140210/11274926167/whether-not-dumb-starbucks-is-pr-stunt-joke-real-its-parody-claims-are-pretty-questionable.shtml

But, you know, actually admitting you are wrong will never happen.

In the meantime, are you honestly arguing that 6 seconds of a 90+ minute sporting event are not likely to be fair use?

Because, even for you, that would be ridiculous. And you seem to specialize in ridiculous statements. Of course, I know you, and now you’re going to claim that, of course, you made no such statement concerning whether or not this was fair use. Because that’s how you always act. You make some sideways statement that everyone knows exactly what you mean, but gives you an out to claim you never actually said what you obviously implied. That’s why I’ve called you out repeatedly over the years. You always do that and think you’re clever. But you’re not clever at all. You just look obnoxious.

Anonymous Coward says:

and they're right!

Unfortunately, however, the UK doesn’t have fair use, and the entertainment industry has fought hard against allowing it, saying it would harm innovation.

As this article clearly shows, these organizations clearly need the incentive of fewer copyright exceptions so they can continue innovating ways to piss off the most people in the least amount of the time with the largest amount of money wasted. Their failures give you material to write about, which brings in ad revenue! That’s literally stealing! WHERE’S YOUR LICENSE, MASNICK?!?!

/sarc

jarfil says:

Copyright? ...that's like Trademark?

I bet they heard about “If you don’t enforce your trademark, you lose it”… and think that copyright works the same.
It doesn’t… but I’d also bet their legal dept doesn’t want them to realize that, in case they also realized how much they’re paying their legal dept for this silliness.

TestPilotDummy says:

Boycott All Sports

I boycott all US sports. Mainly cause they have deals with FEMA for the “dual use” of Arena’s as FEMA CAMPS.

International Sports. Don’t make me laugh. Got problems at home, screw outside US until these oath breakers are reigned in.

Don’t make me look up all the sponsors and people behind international sports, I HATE too.

The innocence of Sports is gone.
Freaking Prison Schools have chain link fences where we used to play Kickball/slaughterball/football/socker/baseball/basketball/bike riding/skateboarding/dog sledding/on and on and on, now it’s a FRIGGIN POLICE STATE with NANNY crybaby parents who’s brainwashed by FAKE ASS psychiatrists think their big baby’s have ADD, Hyperactivity, and other FALSE SCIENCE shit.

At the Arena…
Got Wheat In your BEER? F u
Got FASCIST Sponsors? F u
Got Carbon Tax in your Agenda/Programming? F u
Communist Core? F u
Gun Grab Delphi Agenda Fu

And Ya wonder why I cuss.

trollificus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Boycott All Sports

IF, as you imply, you have suffered from this condition, you should be first in line to decry said condition being used to redefine the normal activity, attention span and behaviors of little boys as medical conditions requiring drug treatment. Whatever you suffer from, this ongoing redefinition requires ADHD and hyperactivity being used as “fake ass shit”.

If you think that hasn’t been happening…well, then, don’t knock knowing what you’re talking about till you’ve tried it.

textgenie (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Boycott All Sports

Very well said. Caution is indicated when hitherto unknown social fantasies mushroom, especially in health. Otherwise imagination and fear exploited by self serving advisers and an industry which sells the supposed “cures” lead to a world of diagnosis and prescription that has little justification in research. As in this case.

Anonymous Coward says:

Football matches are not copyrightable

Remember the decision a few years ago where a pub landlady was showing Premier League games via foreign satellite broadcasters? The courts in that instance ruled that a sporting event in itself is not a copyrightable work. If you ripped a section from a TV broadcast then the graphics and commentary from the broadcast might be sufficient creativity to render the programme copyrightable but the underlying sports event is not a creative work within the meaning of copyright law. So fans recording sections of the game with their mobile phone cameras could only be held liable if the ticket terms and conditions state “no filming” – breach of contract in other words.

Manabi (profile) says:

Re: Football matches are not copyrightable

I wasn’t aware of that case, but I can’t see any way they can claim copyright on the video created by someone other than themselves. It would seem to me that the copyright holder on those Vines and other videos made with a fan’s own phone just can’t belong to the EPL. That case just makes that much clearer. If they’re going to send takedown notices (they’ll probably use the DMCA, even though they’re not in the US), then they’ll be lying when they say they own the copyright.

Now they might have some kind of trademark claim over the uniforms/etc. shown in the clips. But since the vast majority of the clips will be used non-commercially, even that is pretty bogus.

All around it just seems insanely stupid and not even what the law really allows.

Beech says:

No. I get it. They are zombies. IP protectionism is exactly like zombieism. A slowly moving, inexplicably infectious, single-minded march to grab all you want.

A zombie shambles along single-mindedly converting everyone in it’s path in it’s never ending search for “braaaaaaains.” It cannot be reasoned with. It cannot be told that getting a sustainable breeding population is a better long term idea.

IP protectionists single-mindedly march onwards demanding that all their rights, real or imagined, must be protected at all costs in their never ending search for profits, moaning “Weee haaaave to proteeeect our eye-peeeeeeee.” Cannot be reasoned with. Cannot be taught that perhaps pissing off the people who are giving you their money is not the best long term idea.

DocGerbil100 (profile) says:

Sponging

I think this is less about infringement and more about the fact that Premier League’s Chief Executive – Richard Scudamore – is also the Company Director (and presumably the majority shareholder) of Football DataCo, the company paid to take down these images (and presumably being paid by the takedown).

What’s a little bad publicity compared to the chance to double-dip from the Premier League?

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

But in this case neither is even necessary because THERE IS NO COPYRIGHT IN SPORTING EVENTS

REPEAT THERE IS NO COPYRIGHT IN SPORTING EVENTS

ANy sport body claiming copyright in the event itself is admitting that the event is “fixed” – snce that is the only way that a copyright could be claimed.

As far as the “ticket sales condition” is concerned – if you deliberately don’t make any copyrightable expression in your filming then (as in the monkey case) there is no copyright for them to take off you – so the clips are in the public domain.

I’m sorry but the premier league is trying to change the law by a process of repetition/initimidation. Thankfully the law doesn’t work like that (yet).

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