NFL on a major head trip! Fans could be thrown out of stadia for Tweeting!

Shake&Bake

Party Liaison
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
22,165
I know that this sport has nothing to do with us.
But the article is a helluva read, when you actually get to grips with the "fear" that the NFL has towards Twitter and other social networking sites and how it could or is potentionally impeding on the league's revenue/business.

Bloody mad the lengths they're wanting go to :erm:

Special Report: 2009 NFL Valuations
Why Twitter Scares The NFL
Evan Hessel, 09.02.09, 06:00 PM EDT

The league wants to restrict fans' use of Twitter and Facebook to protect its TV contracts. Good luck with that.

With 45 million monthly unique visitors, the microblogging site Twitter has emerged as an ideal platform for broadcasting personal opinions on nearly every subject matter. The National Football League, the powerful sports league with more than $4 billion in annual television revenues alone, thinks all that frivolous tweeting could seriously damage its business.

In preparation for the upcoming season, the NFL has instituted a set of new guidelines attempting to restrict how fans can use social media applications like Facebook and Twitter to talk about professional football. Under the rules, the NFL says fans are encouraged to circulate messages about teams and players, but cannot post play-by-play accounts of actual games.

The NFL also aims to prohibit fans attending games in person from posting large quantities of videos shot from the stands onto sites capable of hosting videos, such as YouTube, Facebook or MySpace. The NFL sells exclusive rights to television networks and radio stations to broadcast the games, says NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, and posting text or video recaps of each play could undermine the league and its broadcasting partners' efforts to make money airing the games.

If the NFL identifies fans violating the new rules, league officials say they'll contact them and tell them to stop posting text or video. If fans refuse, the league will consider filing a lawsuit, McCarthy said.

The strong-armed tactics demonstrate how worried sports leagues are about the impact of social media on their business. But they also open the NFL up to a potentially ugly legal battle if the league cracks down on fans.

The NFL "has no property right over fans' tweets," says Wendy Seltzer, a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Fans have the same right guaranteed by the First Amendment to publish accounts of football games, even in play-by-play form, that any news organization would, she argues.

Seltzer says the NFL could theoretically claim that fans were violating the league's trademarks by using the names of teams and players, but that wouldn't likely hold up in court.

Similar legal issues arose in the late 1990s when the National Basketball Association sued to block Motorola ( MOT - news - people ) from operating a service that sent continuously updated sports scores and game information to pagers. In that case, the NBA tried to argue that the stats service both violated the league's copyrights and misappropriated their commercial property. Both claims were denied by courts.

Regarding video, Seltzer says that the NFL and its teams could insert a clause in the text on the back of tickets stating that fans are prohibited from using recording equipment in stadiums. Some teams already include such language.

Yet enforcing such rules would be tricky. Teams would have to physically remove fans from the stands. And if fans ignore the rules and record video, Seltzer argues that the league would have no property right over resulting footage and would have to prove to a judge that posting the video on Facebook or YouTube actually reduced the value of their TV broadcasts.

There is some historical precedent for pro sports organizations trying to block media access to game footage and information to protect important sources of revenue. Bill Wirtz, former owner of the National Hockey League's Chicago Blackhawks, famously blocked local broadcasts of games in hopes of stimulating ticket sales. After Wirtz died in 2007, the team abandoned the practice, realizing the marketing power of television to expand its fan base.

Along with installing rules to regulate fans' tweets and Facebook updates, the NFL also announced new rules for players and coaches. They can use social media applications until 90 minutes before each the start of a game and have to wait until traditional media interviews are finished before they resume posting personal messages. Of course, the league has more legal leverage to enforce rules over team members. This summer, the San Diego Chargers reportedly fined cornerback Antonio Cromartie $2,500 for using Twitter to complain about the food served at the team's training camp.

NFL spokesman McCarthy says the league has yet to identify a case of a fan attempting to post a play-by-play account on the Web but that it needed established rules in case such a situation occurs. If its threats fail to deter excessive tweeting, the NFL better come up with a strong legal and PR case before they drag one of their own fans into court.

Wonder how fans are going to react and if this notion will spread to other sports codes?
 

smokey

Honorary Master
Joined
Dec 12, 2007
Messages
13,468
What court is going to uphold a court case where a fan uploads a crap quality movie of his team winning to facebook? Unless you are a popularity whore, it really doesn't matter... 300 people are not going to switch from TV to your facebook page to see a rubbidg video of you showing off your team's winning goal/try/whatever. Morons.
 

The_Unbeliever

Honorary Master
Joined
Apr 19, 2005
Messages
103,197
Wahahahaha

Ahahahaha

There's a simple solution to all this - program the cell towers to accept only certain cellphones calls (officials etc) so that in the case of an emergency emergency services can still be contacted, but nobody can tweet or facebook for the duration of that game.

Really a lot of hot air... :rolleyes:
 

smokey

Honorary Master
Joined
Dec 12, 2007
Messages
13,468
Wahahahaha

Ahahahaha

There's a simple solution to all this - program the cell towers to accept only certain cellphones calls (officials etc) so that in the case of an emergency emergency services can still be contacted, but nobody can tweet or facebook for the duration of that game.

Really a lot of hot air... :rolleyes:

Someone would just hack the wi-fi at the stadium :p
 
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