Thu, Sep 6th 2007 2:36pm
Just earlier today we had a post on how the NFL still thinks it can tell news organizations how they can do their job, in spite of fair use, and well, logic and reason. The Rugby World Cup kicks off Friday, and its organizers are involved in a similar spat with media groups covering the event. Back in April, organizers tried to put restrictions on the number of photos news outlets could publish online, and also how they were published (lest anything cover up a sponsor's logo). Major media outlets, including the AP, Reuters and AFP aren't playing ball, though, and are boycotting the event until the dispute is resolved. As much as the World Cup organizers would like to think they don't care, they depend on widespread media coverage and the free publicity it generates to drive their money machines. They say they're acting to protect companies that have paid for certain broadcasting rights, but what they're really trying to protect are the huge fees these companies have paid. They seem to think that letting news outlets print photos online threaten things like TV rights, but it would seem that the opposite is true. By reducing the amount of news coverage for the event -- which acts as publicity -- they're going to hurt the amount of interest people have in it. In turn, perhaps they won't be nearly as interested to follow it on TV or radio or anywhere else rightsholders have paid to deliver it. That's what really threatens their revenues, not the fact that people can go online and see photos from matches.
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