by Mike Masnick
Mon, Sep 8th 2014 3:48pm
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Aug 15th 2014 7:39pm
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
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."As for the fact that this might piss off fans? The Premier League doesn't care. At all.
"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."
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.
Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 4:11pm
from the the-poorest-saint dept
We've had a great many discussions about how employers react to the social media content of their employees. There have been questions over whether employers should be able to fire staff for Facebook content, whether staff can be perma-banned from using social media sites at all, or even whether or not employees should be required to cough up social media passwords to their employers. These stories tend to focus on an employer doing something that makes the employee uncomfortable.
You want to know what's really an uncomfortable result of an employer looking into an employee's social media account? How about losing five million dollars? That's exactly what happened to New Orleans Saints receiving tight end Jimmy Graham.
Unable to negotiate a deal, the Saints slapped Jimmy Graham with a franchise tag as a tight end. Graham disagreed, declaring himself a receiver, in order that he be paid like one. The dispute went to arbitration, and today arbitrator Stephen Burbank came down on the Saints' side. The difference is significant. A franchise tag pays a player the average of the five highest-paid players at that position, and WRs—especially the top tier—are paid better than their TE counterparts. A ruling favorable to Graham would have seen him make $12.312 million this season; instead, he'll make $7.035 million.For you non-sports fans out there, the reason for the average price difference is due to the fact that a team's wide receivers are generally more skilled players compared with tight ends. Typically, receivers primarily, you know, receive, as in the ball, typically on pass plays. Tight ends traditionally occasionally catch passes, but are often used as on-the-line blockers as well and aren't considered to have the catching, jumping, and speed skills of a receiver. For you non-Jimmy Graham fans out there, Graham breaks the stereotype completely, having led his team in receptions, caught yards, and receiving touchdowns. His argument that he wasn't really a tight end had a ton of merit. Unfortunately for Jimmy Graham, the arbiter took to the opinion of Jimmy Graham in part when rendering his decision.
The arbitrator's decision isn't public, but dribs and drabs of Burbank's reasoning have come out. (Ian Rapaport and Albert Breer are your best sources.) Among Burbank's justifications:Oops. Kind of hard to argue that you're not a tight end when your own Twitter bio calls you a tight end. Now, the article notes that the Twitter bio probably wasn't the key factor in the decision, stating that the arbiter likely instead focused on how close to the offensive linemen Graham started most plays (which is stupid, by the way), but it did serve as a sort of catchy "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit" moment against his claim.
-Graham attends TE position meetings.
-Graham was drafted by the Saints as a TE.
-Graham lists himself as a TE in his Twitter bio. (Yes, the Saints argued this.) Burbank, via Rapaport: "Mr. Graham refers to himself as a tight end in social media that he controls and his agents do so as well."
-Graham lined up within four yards of the offensive line on a majority of his snaps last season.
Either way, before you go telling your bosses what role you play in a company, probably best that you get your story straight with your social media accounts first.
by Michael Ho
Thu, Jun 19th 2014 5:00pm
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
- Soccer ball designs have changed quite a bit since the 1920s. The Telstar Durlast ball from the 1970 World Cup is the buckyball shape that was designed to be more visible on black & white TVs. The newest ball designs have far fewer panels and seams, and they need to be tested to make sure the aerodynamics aren't too different from previous balls. [url]
- The first basketball was actually a soccer ball. Before the 1940s, the technology to make an inflatable ball without laces didn't exist, so it wasn't until after basketballs could be molded for a smooth surface (without laces), that dribbling became a major part of the sport. [url]
- A completely smooth golf ball would travel only about half as far as golf ball with dimples. The dimples create a turbulent boundary layer of air around the ball, and the effect can produce additional lift, depending on how the ball is hit. [url]
Tue, Dec 31st 2013 5:05pm
from the dive-dive-bomb dept
Many of my fellow Americans enjoy the sport of football and their professional and collegiate leagues, the NFL and the NCAA. If you're like me, you often opine that you could run the team, the program, or the franchise in immeasurably greater fashion than the millionaire chowderheads currently employed to do so. If you're also like me, you play football video games and, oddly, learn quite a bit about the game from them. That, however, is usually as far as this type of thing goes.
Unlike me, however, Christopher McComas decided that all of these things have somehow merged together to make him the perfect fit for the University of North Dakota's vacant head football coach position. Having noticed on Twitter that UND was looking for a new head coach, he submitted his resume. His plan, such as it is, is undeniably interesting:
My football philosophy is basically an attacking one. We're going to give AIR RAID a whole new definition. Theoretically how many times do you think a team can pass in a game? Challenge accepted. We're going 5 wide, chucking the pigskin all over the place. Never punt. Onside every time. Chip Kelly will be calling me to learn my offense. We will put on an exciting brand of football, we will pack them into the Alerus Center night in and night out, go ahead and blow the roof off the place and add about 35,000 seats to that place.To many of us, this philosophy is quite familiar. We often see it employed by every ten-year-old we play in an online version of Madden or NCAA Football. This, as McComas 9 page PowerPoint he sent to UND Athletic Director Brian Faison to justify his hiring, is so recognizable for a reason.
Now, I can't say for sure that Mr. Faison will find these video game credentials as underwhelming as I (Thurman Thomas a God? Even God couldn't do that!), but it seems quite unlikely that they'll get McComas hired. Also, his plan to be good by "winning a lot of games" seems more like a goal than a plan, but what do I know?
Either way, it's useful to remember as we head into the holiday season and the TV glow is full of sports (for some of us, at least), there's always someone better out there, even if that means being better at foolishly stating how great we'd be if we were in charge of our favorite teams.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Sep 25th 2013 7:57pm
from the legal-strategy?-meet-marketing-strategy dept
Of course, he also recognizes that the Seahawks dominated the 49ers once already this season, and is probably hoping for a repeat in their second matchup. Either way, the chances of Craigslist taking him up on this bet are likely about as close to zero as you can get. Still, he gets points for creativity.
Fri, Sep 13th 2013 3:20pm
from the what-are-you-inking? dept
You'd think with all the threats facing the NFL and American football, such as Twitter-spoliers on draft picks and the impending SkyNET takeover, the powers that be in America's most-watched game wouldn't have time to deal with more minor threats from non-sentient-destructo-machines, but here's the stupidity of copyright on tattoos to prove me wrong yet again. You may recall that former athlete/tattoo issues have included Mike Tyson's face being visible in The Hangover 2, as well as UFC fighter Carlos Condit being depicted accurately in a THQ game.
Well, this nonsense hasn't gone unnoticed, and the NFL Players Association has taken a firm stance that it will run the hell away from any licensing issues that arise from their members' tattoos being depicted in any form of media. Featured prominently in Forbes' analysis of the issue is Colin Kaepernick, quarterback of the 49ers and a man that has done more to combine ink and flesh than an all-squid orgy.
The question is no longer whether the tattoos that cover Kaepernick's body will detract from his brand; the fear is that it could lead to future liability not only for the signal-caller, but for all other NFL players who are inked up. The ink issue is over who owns the copyright to the images depicted by the tattoos emblazoned on athletes' bodies. According to sources speaking to FORBES on condition of anonymity, the issue of copyright ownership concerning tattoos on football players has very recently been labeled as a pressing issue by the NFL Players Association. One source said, “I don't blame [the NFLPA], but they should have been on top of it earlier. It was something that was mentioned at the NFL Combine — that was the first I had ever heard them mention anything on the issue of tattoos. They advised agents to tell their players that when they get tattoos going forward they should get a release from the tattoo artist and if they can track down their former artists, they should get a release.”And if they don't, or can't, get said release? Well, the NFLPA is then going to require that players agree to release the NFLPA from all litigation claims. Not only that, but likewise the NFLPA will seek to “indemnify and hold harmless” any of its licensees as well, such as EA Sports' Madden NFL franchise.
And that's really the shame of the story, because there's a potentially really interesting legal case to be fought here, and if anyone had the financial resources to push things along that far, it'd be the large group of millionaires that make up the NFL Players Association. Instead of pressing the issue, NFL players are instead left holding the liability bag, wondering whether or not they can make money off of their own freaking image, which is the kind of question that would convince me personally that I must be trapped in some 7th circle of the stupidest Hell imaginable. It's especially silly since, as Forbes notes, it's not remotely clear that gaming and media companies wouldn't be in the clear to use these depictions anyway.
Defenses based on fair use and that the tattoo has become a part of the recipient's persona for the purpose of the recipient being able to effectively license his likeness may be applicable. It is difficult to fathom that those responsible for drafting the Copyright Act intended to legally prohibit individuals adorned with tattoos from making public appearances or endorsing products without covering up their ink. But nobody wants to take the risk of appealing to the spirit of the law.On top of that, you'd think that the players themselves, and the organization that represents them, would be interested in fighting back against any copyright claim, not just because of the monetary liability but because of Section 503, which notes that one of the remedies for infringement is that the court can order that the infringing product may be "destroyed." And while fans of, say, the Seattle Seahawks, might like the idea that Colin Kaepernick's arms may need to be "destroyed," that seems like something that the Players' Association might want to take a stand on.
Stated more honestly, this is yet another example of how copyright has gone so far and above its intent as to be unrecognizable by those that put it in place. And nobody wants to fight the fight, which means we'll likely either get a tidal wave of stupid lawsuits over tattoos or less-accurately depicted athletes in games and media. Way to go, copyright.
Fri, Aug 23rd 2013 11:27am
from the personal-foul,-silencing-critics dept
It never ceases to amaze me how businesses just can’t seem to understand the Streisand Effect, or its sister phenomenon, the cover up is always worse than the crime. Whether it’s small groups like a bunch of straight pride people that seek to silence what was essentially their own strange words, hugely famous celebrities, members of Congress, or even major television networks, the hits keep on coming.
But my ears perk up particularly when an otherwise massively successful company who should know better feels the Streisand slap down. Take the NFL for instance, which is currently suffering under reports that it pressured ESPN to pull out of a partnership in a PBS Frontline documentary on how the NFL has turned a blind eye to players suffering concussions, dementia, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. According to all parties, it started out so well.
“[PBS’s] Aronson-Rath said that until last Friday, there had been no hint of trouble between “Frontline” and ESPN. She said that “Frontline” had worked “in lock step” with Vince Doria, ESPN’s senior vice president and director of news, and Dwayne Bray, senior coordinating producer in ESPN’s news-gathering unit.”So, what happened on that Friday that caused ESPN to suddenly pull out of the partnership, which would have resulted in shared profits from the documentary? Well, during the previous week, the NFL hosted a meeting with ESPN’s President John Skipper that has been described as “combative.” The NFL, which is currently facing a class-action lawsuit from thousands of former players over the way it dealt with head-trauma and related injuries, is obviously not pleased about the documentary. Roger Goodell, league commissioner, was reportedly particularly upset that ESPN was working on the film in conjunction with its filmmakers. While Greg Aiello, NFL spokesman, insists that they did not ask ESPN to pull out of the project, it’s rather easy to connect the dots when ESPN did just that almost immediately after the meeting and without any discernible business reason.
And discernible business reason other than ESPN pays the NFL roughly $1 billion to broadcast the wildly successful Monday Night Football, an absolute cash cow for the Disney-owned station. In other words, the NFL told ESPN to bail on the project and they complied. Why? Because ESPN isn’t in the journalism business. Despite what they’d like you to think, they’re a marketing company, with any faux journalism done strictly to build up their televised sports products. That’s fine for them, but there’s a problem for the NFL.
That problem is that this story is now everywhere. Deadspin, the NY Times, all over the place. What was once a PBS documentary that might have been lightly covered by ESPN (though not too much, since it doesn’t hurt its own programming that way) has now been driven into the public discourse in typical Streisand-fashion. And, as always seems the case, everyone gets smeared except the actual documentary they want to silence. The NFL looks both meddlesome and as if it has something to hide, ESPN is all the more revealed to be a non-journalistic enterprise, rather than the journalistic one it pretends to be, and the Frontline documentary is getting a ton of attention.
Bang up job of keeping quiet how violent football is, NFL guys!
Thu, Jan 3rd 2013 4:34pm
from the YouKick dept
That's what makes the story of Norwegian futbol player Havard Rugland so much fun, now that his YouTube kicking video has gone viral and led to a tryout with the New York Jets football squad. The video itself is insane, nearly as insane as Rugland potentially becoming an NFL kicker when he doesn't know a thing about the game.
The events leading to an NFL tryout from that video began when Rugland's futbol team disbanded. He had a booming leg, but now he had to figure out what to do with it. Apparently the Rockettes weren't hiring, because Rugland turned instead to videos of NFL kickers, studying how they performed their craft.
Using tools not typically associated with athletic prowess — YouTube, Facebook, Skype and Gmail — Rugland parlayed a homemade video that went viral into a tryout as a kicker with the Jets last week. He might be the first professional prospect to replace college football experience with social media savvy. In the four-minute video, posted on YouTube in mid-September under the title “Kickalicious,” the left-footed Rugland pulls off some of the most amusing tricks with a football since Lucy began duping Charlie Brown. It has been viewed more than 1.5 million times.If you took the time to watch the video above and have managed to put your jaw back in place, all you really need to know about it is that the video has been independently verified as real and un-doctored. After the video went viral, a former NFL kicker in the States found it and connected with Rugland via Facebook. From there it was a simple matter of networking before Rugland was working out with American coaches. Soon after, the New York Jets came calling.
[Jets Assistant General Manager Scott] Cohen was reluctant to give details about last week’s workout but said the Jets saw enough to conclude that Rugland had a chance to play in the N.F.L. Rugland said the Jets wanted him to return for a workout in March. He added that he planned to spend the next few months in Norway practicing field goals and kickoffs (he is leaving the trick shots behind).
Rugland has also hired an agent, Jill McBride Baxter. After Rugland’s tryout with the Jets, Baxter said, the Oakland Raiders, the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles expressed interest in him.He'll have to impress in March, but Rugland looks to have a good shot at becoming the first NFL football player resulting from a viral YouTube video.
by Tim Cushing
Fri, Jul 27th 2012 5:32pm
from the there's-no-'innovate'-in-'exclusive-contract' dept
First off, the settlement sounds super-big, but in reality, it breaks down to couch change for those people who were "fortunate" enough to make a "recent" purchase of one of the named EA Sports titles.
Those who bought games for a PlayStation 2, original Xbox or Nintendo GameCube could receive up to $6.79 per title. Games purchased for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii will garner a $1.95 refund, reports USA Today.The named platforms call to question the term "recent," which is used in the original USA Today article on the subject.
In a statement, law firm Hagens Berman says EA will create a $27 million fund for players who purchased a recent copy of any Madden NFL, NCAA Football or Arena Football title.The larger payout for older platforms is likely due to the event that led to EA locking down an exclusive deal to publish Madden Roster Update as the sole representative of the National Football League.
Way back in 2004, 2K Sports released ESPN NFL 2K5 at the extremely friendly price point of $19.99, or under half the price of EA's game, which debuted at the normal $50. Not only did it beat Madden in the price war (and force EA to drop Madden's price to $29.99), but in many critics' estimation, it was a superior game, especially in terms of presentation.
EA felt threatened by this move and responded the way any corporation that would go on to hold the title of "Worst Company in America" would: by throwing its considerable weight around and locking down an exclusive deal with the NFL. No doubt the NFL was also worried, having momentarily been associated with a budget-priced game. Hence, nothing but Madden until 2013 and this lawsuit, which was filed in 2010.
The NFL's vice president of consumer products, Gene Goldberg, said at the time that he wasn't concerned that EA's monopoly would result in stagnation, stating that there is "a lot of self-imposed pressure to make [Madden] stand out in a robust and diverse marketplace." Maybe so, but I would imagine that EA's flagship football game would have improved much more dramatically with a high-quality competitor constantly breathing down its (overpriced) neck. 2K Sports' product was so far ahead of Madden at the time that gamers still find it to be a better experience than Madden 11.
This isn't EA's only NFL-related lawsuit, either. U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg just gave the go-ahead for former NFL players to seek class-action status in their lawsuit against EA for using their likenesses in Madden NFL games. EA had hoped to avoid this sort of situation by stripping names and shuffling jersey numbers, but the retired players pointed out that their digital alter egos were accurate in terms of skills and physical appearance.
EA played the "stats are facts" card, quoting an earlier decision that saw Major League Baseball being told that player names and statistics are facts, and therefore cannot be copyrighted. Seeborg's ruling dismissed this claim, stating that current publicity rights laws and pointing out that Madden games show the retired players "in their conventional role as football players" and is the "digital equivalent" of "using the players' pictures to sell T-shirts."
Speaking of "couch change," the proposed settlement pales in comparison to the damages originally sought in the price-fixing lawsuit, which alleged that without the exclusive NFL deal, Madden would have been forced to price its games at a more reasonable $29.99, rather than the $50-60 we're all kind of tired of paying. This difference resulted in gamers paying an extra $701-926 million for EA sports games between 2005 and 2010.
But $27 million it is. Gamers shouldn't start counting that incoming couch change just yet though. This settlement still needs to be approved by the court, a move which could take months. While this might be of some consolation to the gamers who filed the suit, it feels more like a gesture of hands-folded-politely compliance, as if to show that EA is a "Good Corporate Citizen" and, as such, is worthy of its continued NFL-granted monopoly. And despite its exclusive client currently "entertaining" two lawsuits, the NFL doesn't seem to be interested in shopping around for new suitors, leading one to believe that it really doesn't care much for non-exclusive deals... or for its former players.