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Sunday, April 01, 2007

SPORTS ORGANIZATIONS LIMIT BLOGGERS--NY Times

Notice to all relaxed baseball fans: This is happening while you doze. Sports organizations are "vigorously" seeking to control game information. (Gosh, where have I heard that before? Maybe at a Minneapolis chapter meeting of the BBWAA, or in a court room where MLB, Inc. was suing for control of all player information and likenesses). Examples here include the NFL, the upcoming Pan Am Games (putting a blanket ban on 7000 people), and the Olympics. This is what all you socialists wanted. This is what you call freedom.

  • Noting a trend for sports organizations to expand their territory, the article quotes a sports ethics concern in Denmark saying it's "normal for any business (to)try to expand its control of the market. But (limiting online reporting) goes to the core of the functioning of the independent media in our society. The danger is that no real discussion about events on and off the sports field can take place, reducing us to millions of passive sports-consuming robots.”

"Since the late 1990s, tension about online publication of game photos has often surfaced in connection with the media credentials issued by sports authorities. These authorities grant journalists access to games, provided the journalists abide by rules that are constantly evolving."

  • "In 1997, the National Football League threatened to revoke press credentials for The Florida Times-Union unless the paper signed waivers barring it from posting photographs of Jacksonville Jaguar games on its Web site. The Times-Union countered by warning that it would not cover the Jaguars, and the dispute sputtered out."

"Such saber-rattling has continued, from big game to big game, with both news organizations and sports institutions loath to press the issue in court and instead relying on other forms of leverage.

Last year, the World Association of Newspapers also successfully challenged FIFA, the international soccer association, by approaching top sponsors to complain about proposed restrictions on the use of game photos — a tactic that it may also pursue in its current dispute with rugby officials.

“We don’t have any objection to their licensing agreements and the exclusive rights that they provide to broadcasters, ” said Larry Kilman, a spokesman for the newspaper association, which has 18,000 members. “But we think that these restrictions are not needed and they’re being overly cautious.”

  • At stake for big-league sports organizers is the potential revenue from new forms of media. The International Rugby Board chose to limit the online publication of still photographs to five for each half of the game, in part because it wanted to protect the exclusivity of its own subscription-based “match tracker,” which features game commentary online along with a changing assortment of still photographs.

For similar reasons, the authorities of the Pan American Games wanted to protect the exclusivity of their events by barring athletes from blogging or “vlogging” with audio or video content. Eloyza Guardia, a spokeswoman for the organizers, said they were simply following the lead of the International Olympic Committee, which imposed a similar ban during the Winter Olympics in Turin in 2006.

Jeff Bukantz, captain of the United States fencing team, which is bound for the Pan American Games, was unaware until recently that competition blogging had been banned.

  • In 2004, he published a running personal commentary when he was captain of the American Olympic fencing team, which won a gold medal. He describes athlete blogging in general as a cathartic outlet for competitors to release pent-up thoughts and feelings.

“Our athletes will abide by whatever the local rules are,” he said, but he called the blogging ban “shocking.”"

  • From the NY Times article, 4/2/07, "Sports Organizations Try to Limit Online Reporting," by Doreen Carvajal
P.S. Although the Titanic was already sinking, many on board said it could never happen.

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