Copyright Dispute Leads To NFL Not Scouting College Juniors

from the copyright-gone-insane dept

Brooks writes "For once it looks like the NFL isn't the bad guy in an intellectual property dispute, and actually are the ones trying to explain some of the issues with copyright maximalism to colleges. The problem is that the company who records scouting tapes for eight major conferences has convinced colleges that the NFL should pay for the right to use those tapes to scout players, in particular juniors who are trying to decide whether to enter the draft.

From the NFL's point of view, the junior scouting program exists to help keep kids in school if they're unlikely to succeed in the draft in their junior year (it's certainly in the NFL's interest to have those kids continue to develop their talent for one more year). The colleges, of course, see the "value" the tapes bring to the NFL and want a piece of that pie. So far, the NFL seems to be sticking to its guns and basically saying "fine, we just won't scout your players." The dispute has escalated to the point where some colleges aren't even letting NFL scouts look at tape on campus.

There's a bit of a sweet good-for-the-gander element to the story, since the NFL has been on the other side of the content value argument pretty much forever. It does kind of suck, though, that some college juniors will be entering the draft based on overoptimistic expectations. And it can't be good for a college's football program if it becomes known that it doesn't allow NFL scouting."

Yes, you read that right. It seems that the in this era of copyright maximalism, a company is trying to claim copyright on scouting tapes that are helpful to everyone (teams get better scouting info to make decisions, players are more accurately ranked, etc.). A friend who follows minor league baseball mentioned this week that Major League Baseball just took down its own scouting videos that had been online, so I'm wondering if baseball is now facing a similar problem as well.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 9:57am

    If the NFL et al want to charge everyone copyright fees for their content then they should just as well pay copyright fees for the content of others. It should go both ways.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 28th, 2009 @ 10:07am


    I get what you're saying, but actually the point is that it should go NEITHER way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Matt (profile), Oct 28th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    This is... astonishing. What is it XOS thinks the NFL is doing that implicates copyright? For that matter, what the hell is XOS doing that implicates copyright? XOS apparently digitizes video content recorded by the schools. That is a mechanical process involving no originality or creativity.

    If the article is correct, XOS intends to sue the NFL even if it buys the tapes from another vendor. The theory appears to be that XOS has an agreement with SEC teams, so if an SEC team plays a Big East team and the Big East team sells the NFL a tape of the game, XOS is entitled to something. But XOS cannot have a copyright over a tape it did not make! It must be thinking it will sue based on its agreement with the SEC... but that contract claim lies against the SEC (if anyone,) not the NFL.

    This is big money stuff, and the way it is reported in the article makes exactly no sense. I think SI is the problem, here, and the real story is not quite this stupid. Anyhow, I hope that's the case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Michael Kohne, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 11:12am

    NFL scouting

    From a scouting perspective, the NFL can't really lose - they don't have to have the tapes, and there are plenty of places they'll be able to scout that don't mind the NFL looking at stuff.

    It's not like there aren't thousands of great potential players out there - the NFL can't find them all no matter what it does. If some people don't want to be looked at, that's not going to hurt the NFL any, but it's going to have the good high school players going elsewhere, once word gets around.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    fogbugzd (profile), Oct 28th, 2009 @ 11:42am

    Farm Teams

    The NFL has used colleges as farm teams for decades. In the long run this probably isn't a good system for colleges or the NFL because they have different objectives.

    The NFL should just set up its own system of farm teams like Baseball has. That way they would not be hampered by silly NCAA requirements for things like academic performance. Players in the farm team system could focus more on the important issues such as how to successfully cover your steroid use and how to get away with various types of felonies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 3:22pm

    In the long run this probably isn't a good system for colleges or the NFL because they have different objectives.

    What's this "difference" you speak of?

    Ultimate objective for NFL: make as much money as possible

    Ultimate objective for Div I football programs: make as much money as possible

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2009 @ 10:52am


    How is that not different? They're clearly conflicting with each other.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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