Southeastern Conference Wants To 'Control Memories' Of Sporting Events; Limits Reporters & Fans

from the good-luck-with-that dept

Over the past few years, we've seen both MLB and especially the NFL try to limit how reporters can report on sporting events. This is highly questionable, in a variety of ways. Obviously, the NFL has no legal right to limit how anyone reports on event, but it was effectively holding "access" over the head of the reporters. That is, any reporter that failed to live up to these "rules" would no longer get a press pass and access to the locker room or players. This seems designed to piss off reporters, and limit the actual publicity that a sports league gets. In the past, I've suggested that newspapers who are threatened with such rules should simply ignore the press passes and start buying their reporters' tickets to report from the stands in protest.

Now, a whole bunch of people have been sending in the news that the Southeastern Conference (SEC) -- a college sporting division -- is now taking this concept to a whole new level, limiting not just all kinds of reporting that can be done by reporters, but also on any fans attending the game (thanks to Jeff T for sending this in first). The press will not be allowed to show more than 3 minutes of highlights -- all of which must be taken down within 72 hours. This includes not just the sporting event itself, but any press conferences related to the event (nice way to make embarrassing press conferences "disappear").

The much bigger issue, however, may be the attempt to stop fans from taking photos of, or discussing, a sporting event they attend. The conference will put a license agreement on the back of every ticket noting these rules -- which are almost entirely unenforceable. The buyers of the tickets will not have "agreed" to the policy and would likely have a strong argument in court that the license is invalid. On top of that, how insane is it that a sports conference is trying to stop fans from telling or showing others about a game?

Someone in the article explains the (somewhat obvious) reasoning behind these policies. The SEC (Southeastern Conference) is basically "protecting" the rights to sell TV broadcasting rights for huge sums, and it's afraid that others reporting on the events takes away from the value of it. That's wrong for a variety of reasons -- including the simple idea that limiting how people can find out about your sporting events doesn't make them more engaged, it makes them less engaged. That's less value for any big broadcast deal.

The second reason given in the article? The SEC "wants the ability to have full control of the memories that these events can generate." That's nice that it wants that. But it goes against pretty much everything the law says is protectable.

But, once again, welcome to "ownership society." With so many people pushing so hard for stronger and stronger intellectual property rights, you get massive landgrabs such as this one, that go well beyond legal protection rights, in an attempt to "control memories." That's just what Jefferson and others intended when they put "promote the progress" in the Constitution, I'm sure...
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Filed Under: control, fans, reporting, southeastern conference


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  1. icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), 11 Aug 2009 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    As there is more and more pressure to make everything free, open, available, and without cost, the other side will push back harder and harder.

    So, one side demands to allow an infinite good to be infinitely available, and the other side wants to control my memories.

    You're so right, that seems perfectly reasonable.

    Heck, they have all but swallowed the entire music business, made newspapers into buggy whip businesses, and so on.

    By "they" do you mean "technological advances in computing power and data transfer"? Or maybe "Increased efficency in ad-based marketing"?

    It's not a group of people with a similar mindset that these people fear, it's being displaced from their seats of power due to advances in technology. They are fighting *the future*, and they are doomed to lose.

    So in many ways, the more stuff slips over the abyss, the more the ones on the cliff will try to solidfy their positions.

    The abyss being the public domain? The place our founders expected everything to end up for the good of *everyone* after a *finite* amount of time? That abyss?

    As a side note, sporting events are private events, and the terms and conditions of a ticket are more than likely enforcible.

    Yes, they can throw you out or bar you from entering, but they can't take away your rights. Especially since you buy the ticket before you read the back, they'd be throwing money away to stop me from taking a picture, because I'd demand a refund. That's a swell idea-- piss off paying fans. Oh, no, you're right, that's pretty much how things are done these days.

    But they are putting it out there to specifically block off the non-media media who will buy a seat and try to report like that.

    Non-media media? Seriously? Oh, the people they haven't given a press pass? A press pass is not authorization to report, it's much like a backstage pass, it simply allows the wearer to go into places not open to the general public. The media is the media with or without a backstage pass.

    I really don't understand why you're all onboard for anything that is attempting to control your memories of an event. How much of a drone can you be not just to accept it, but to actually *defend* it?

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