from the oh-stuff-it dept
Every few years, the Olympics comes along to remind us not so much about the power of personal triumphs in sports, but the vast overreach of copyright laws to control absolutely everything for no damn reason at all.
Over the weekend, a pretty amazing story came out of the Olympics. Dutch runner Sifan Hassan was entering the final lap in a 1,500 meter heat, when the runner in front of her tripped, leading Hassan to fall as well. Both runners were then way behind the rest of the pack, with just about 350 meters left to go. Somehow, Hassan got up, and passed 11 other Olympic runners to win the race.
The only reason I learned about this was because I saw a tweet by Sports Illustrated writer Chris Chavez that included a clip showing that final lap from the fall to the victory. That tweet went super viral. When I spotted it, it had thousands of retweets. Indeed, the NPR link I put above with the story suggests you watch it by linking to Chris’s tweet. Of course, if you go there now this is what you’ll see:
That missing tweet in the middle was the video.
It’s unclear if it was NBC or the Olympics (or someone else?) who took it down, but either way this is ridiculous. Yes, you can argue that the copyright holder has a right to take it down, but even that seems debatable. This seems like a pretty clear case of fair use — a reporter reporting on something.
But, even ignoring the fair use argument, this is just so stupid and pointless. Chavez was giving free advertising and promotion to an amazing moment at the Olympics. And it was going viral. Crazy viral. What kind of stupid landlord looks at someone giving them massive promotional value for free and says “we gotta stop that sorta thing!” The infatuation with ownership and control at the expense of word-of-mouth promotion makes no sense at all. It actively holds back interest in the event.