by Mike Masnick
Thu, Sep 6th 2007 12:45am
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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