FanDuel - WFBC

June 11, 2007

"Once a player hits a home run, that's a fact. It's on TV. Everybody sees it. (The NCAA) can't copyright that fact. The blog wasn't a simulcast or a recreation of the game. It was an analysis.": Brian Bennett of the Courier Journal ( in Louisville) had his press credentials revoked and was ejected from the College World Series Super-Regional by the NCAA for "live-blogging".

posted by lilnemo to culture at 04:44 PM - 47 comments

The comments attached to the article don't have me checking home prices in Louisville. I have a tough time imagining a situation where I'd be on the NCAA's side, even if there weren't a possible freedom of speech issue at hand. Were I a betting man, I'd guess the commenters are the same folks who show up here to complain about their speech rights being trampled.

posted by yerfatma at 05:08 PM on June 11

The approach the NCAA is taking here, which is the approach the MLB, NFL and NBA all seem to be following is a strange one to me: they are taking Sport and changing it into something else to hit a demographic that appeals to advertisers, to get stadia built, to maximize profits today. They're taking something that we as fans made important and are working to make it just another entertainment option on the Idiocracy menu. Williams and DiMaggio and a thousand others were icons, men who showed up on the cover of Life and Time back in the '40s, when actual history was happening. "Were you there when . . . ", "Did you ever see him play?" These were moments that mattered as history, but leagues seem insistent on telling us the events we watch on the field or the court or the ice are more like teleplays whose plot twists and dialog are all protected by copyright law lest we ingrates violate their Intellectual Property. Seems like a clear recipe for success. If I'm the kind of fan who's subscribed to a local newspaper blog for a team, live blogging an event is sure to make me shut off the TV or not bother to see what's happened, rather than causing me to say, "Oh shit, game's already started."

posted by yerfatma at 05:17 PM on June 11

On the prep level,blogging reporters at the game are essential because not all games are broadcast,even during the playoffs.Your only other option is to drive all over the state to attend.

posted by sickleguy at 06:16 PM on June 11

This news got me to thinking, if pro and amateur leagues are going after businesses (print/web journos, sports bars) for "infringing" on their copyrights, what is keeping them from taking on the public? There are a fair number of sports team bloggers/sites that either "live-blog" events, or have "gameday chats". Do they stand to incur the wrath of the leagues they cover? If I call my friend to vent about Juan Pierre's circuitous routes and poor throwing arm, whilst watching the game am I liable to get a call from Bud Selig's lapdogs? The major sports seriously need to rethink the extent (and inanity) of their broadcast rights vis a vis the First amendment, fair use, common-fucking-sense, and reality.

posted by lilnemo at 06:19 PM on June 11

I think this is a bad policy, but calling it a copyright issue (as the newspaper attorney did) is, in my mind, a bit of a red herring. This is an issue of terms of access. It does have First Amendment implications, particularly if the stadium is some sort of public place or would be conceived of as such by a court or if the NCAA is seen as some sort of quasi-public (i.e., governmental) actor. But I haven't seen the NCAA claiming that the live blogging is a copyright violation; rather, they have simply said that one of the conditions for obtaining a press pass is that the credentialed reporter does not live-blog (or file reports for publication at all during a game) -- if the reporter violates that, his or her press pass will be revoked. Bad policy, but invoking copyright is bad law. (As a big caveat -- if the NCAA has said this is a copyright issue, I think they are also wrong on the law.)

posted by holden at 06:56 PM on June 11

One other quick note on the copyright issue. The NCAA's policy of prohibiting live-blogging is quite clearly intended to make the broadcast rights (which arise in copyright) more valuable. So in that sense, copyright is an issue here in that it is driving the policy. I just think to say that the press blogger was stripped of his credentials due to some sort of copyright infringement or violation on his part (as the newspaper attorney intimated) confuses the issue a bit.

posted by holden at 07:02 PM on June 11

Here's Bennett's latest blog entry on the matter.

posted by lilnemo at 07:11 PM on June 11

All sports end their broadcasts with the copyright spiel. We as fans are so used to it, we for the most part carry on as if it didn't exist.I always wondered what would happen if they tried to enforce it. Would I be guilty of copyright infringment for describing a play I saw on Tv to my friends.Think they will need a few thousand more prisons built for us hardened sports criminals.

posted by Lashlarue at 07:33 PM on June 11

Would I be guilty of copyright infringment for describing a play I saw on Tv to my friends. That would depend, do you have the expressed written consent of the broadcaster and rights holder?

posted by tommytrump at 08:53 PM on June 11

The interesting central question here is: Is a blog a broadcast? The larger issue would be "is a written account of an event the same as watching the event?" If a written account of an sporting event is an infringement of broadcast rights, then anytime anyone writes a description of a sporting event, they are infringing those rights. Thus, the NYT play by play printed the next day is just as big an issue as this gentleman's liveblog. Furthermore, we've seen sports shows run "tickers" of scores and stats for games in progress for decades. If the issue is that this was happening at the same time as the game, those sports tickers are infringing on the broadcast rights as well. Not saying this is necessarily a slippery slope, but I think this battle against the NCAA should be fought.

posted by Joey Michaels at 12:23 AM on June 12

So, me average joe sporting event attendee take out my cell phone, video King James dunking over Timmaay then put that on Youtube.. what then?

posted by warstda at 07:37 AM on June 12

If a written account of an sporting event is an infringement of broadcast rights, then anytime anyone writes a description of a sporting event, they are infringing those rights. Thus, the NYT play by play printed the next day is just as big an issue as this gentleman's liveblog. I come back on this one to the fact that I don't believe the NCAA is claiming a copyright violation (infringement) here. A written account of a sporting event as it is occurring while attending the event is against the NCAA's terms of access to the press box (and maybe to the stadium at large). Violate that rule, and you will be kicked out of the event or have your credentials revoked. You will not, however, be subject to a potential suit for copyright infringement. So the NYT play-by-play is not the same as the liveblog because it's not against the NCAA's policy of concurrent blogging from an event. If the NCAA did make some sort of claim under copyright, it would probably be a loser. In a case from the mid-90s dealing with whether Motorola and STATS, Inc. could broadcast NBA scores to subscribers' beepers (remember those?), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit stated:

In our view, the underlying basketball games do not fall within the subject matter of federal copyright protection because they do not constitute "original works of authorship" under 17 U.S.C. 102(a). Section 102(a) lists eight categories of "works of authorship" covered by the act, including such categories as "literary works," "musical works," and "dramatic works." The list does not include athletic events, and, although the list is concededly non-exclusive, such events are neither similar nor analogous to any of the listed categories.
Based on the copyright analysis and certain other areas of law, the court in that case ultimately decided that the NBA could not block the services sending scores to their respective subscribers.

posted by holden at 07:43 AM on June 12

Thus, the NYT play by play printed the next day is just as big an issue as this gentleman's liveblog. That's not in line with my take on the situation. I think the NCAA's interest is protecting the television and radio organizations who have paid to broadcast their games from losing their audiences to an entity that is not paying for the right to broadcast. Knowing that the New York Times is going to print a play-by-play the next day is unlikely to draw any significant audience away from watching or listening to the game live. A live blog, though, has the ability to reach large masses of people and give them a broadcasting option of a sort that could conceivably pull viewers away from the paying media. Whether that danger is real is certainly worth questioning, but the NCAA thinks it's real enough to write a stipulation in their contract with the media who are awarded press passes. Apparently, they didn't just make this rule up on the spot. I would like to know how tickers work on the business end. I find it hard to believe that scores are being broadcast like that without some financial arrangement in place with the leagues involved. Of course, they may just view the ticker as free advertising that the game is on, but I would think it's rare that they let the "express written consent" thing happen without a little money changing hands. On edit: holden said what I said better. And wicked smarter.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 08:04 AM on June 12

A written account of a sporting event as it is occurring while attending the event is against the NCAA's terms of access to the press box (and maybe to the stadium at large). I can understand the press box issue -- though by no means agree with it -- as it is generally a privilege afforded to news agencies (which generate interest/demand through their reporting). But kicking a paying individual out of the stadium for liveblogging should become a free speech issue, especially if the arena is primarily, or exclusively, funded through tax money (subsidies, credits, etc.), at which point I consider it more akin to a public setting. Legally speaking, I doubt that holds any weight, but (with no intention of thread hijacking) I wonder aloud: do stadiums primarily, or exclusively, funded through tax money generally receive any special perks over their privately-funded counterparts?

posted by PublicUrinal at 08:18 AM on June 12

A live blog, though, has the ability to reach large masses of people and give them a broadcasting option of a sort that could conceivably pull viewers away from the paying media. Whether that danger is real is certainly worth questioning, but the NCAA thinks it's real enough to write a stipulation in their contract with the media who are awarded press passes. Apparently, they didn't just make this rule up on the spot. I think they did make it up on the spot. The NCAA handed out a flyer laying out the rule before the game. The NCAA's contention is that a blog is equivalent to a live broadcast. I think they would have a difficult time getting anyone to believe that. The NCAA can make up whatever ridiculous rules it wants in the granting of press passes. I have no idea if they can expand that rule to paying customers, but I can't see a reason why not. I don't think it even matters whether a stadium is publicly funded. Presumably, there is a lease that limits the uses of the ballpark. It is definitely not a free speech area because you can be kicked out of any stadium if you are disruptive or heckling.

posted by bperk at 08:55 AM on June 12

I think they did make it up on the spot. You're right (if Bennett is accurately reporting what happened in his blog). Sometimes I read too quickly the first time through and miss things. Like the point.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 11:01 AM on June 12

The linked article goes a bit further:

During the middle of yesterday's game, Courier-Journal representatives were told by two members of the U of L athletic staff that if the school did not revoke Bennett's credential it would jeopardize the school's chances of hosting another NCAA baseball event.
So revoking Bennett's credentials and asking him to leave wasn't enough. Apparently the NCAA threatened to withhold further CWS events (and the attendant revenue no doubt) from being held at the University of Louisville if the University didn't revoke Bennett's credential. Makes it sound like the NCAA isn't content with "just" keeping him from reporting the CWS, it sounds like they want to keep him from reporting on U. of Louisville sports as well.

posted by lilnemo at 12:25 PM on June 12

The NCAA may have made up the live-blogging rule on the spot, but it should be noted that it was before Friday's game and Bennett was kicked out of Sunday's game -- so they waited to enforce it (not sure which way those facts cut). Also, in terms of revoking Bennett's credentials, I believe that the host universities themselves grant credentials on an event-by-event or sport-by-sport basis. Just because Bennett had his NCAA baseball post-season credential for the Super Regional revoked does not mean he can't report on, or be credentialed for, other sports or even for other Louisville baseball events. Heck, he may even get a credential for the College World Series. On the other hand, if his credentials have been more broadly stripped (which I didn't see any evidence suggesting), I think that is punitive in a way that goes beyond the necessary punishment for a one-off violation of the policy. For what it's worth, here's a follow-up article from the Courier-Journal with a more reasoned, less reactionary response to the controversy.

posted by holden at 12:37 PM on June 12

I think one thing that is being missed here is that the news paper profits from the blog. There have been alot of comparisons to fans taking pics or video of a sporting event. I would be willing to bet that we all know it is illegal to take a picture at an event and sell it without "expressed written consent". What we are talking about here is a news paper profitting off of a broadcast. The article said he made 16 entries before he was kicked out. That is pretty close to a live broadcast if you ask me. If you take yourself and your emotions out of the issue I think its pretty clear that the blog does indeed infringe on copyright laws. There is no policy about reporting or bloging about the game, but there is rightfully a policy about blogging and reporting while the game is going. If there wasn't, then what would stop you or I from "Blogcasting" the game ourselves and making money off that without paying for the rights to do so.

posted by Steel_Town at 02:09 PM on June 12

And when you think about it, what right do you have to ask an employer for vacation or a 40 hour work week?

posted by yerfatma at 02:20 PM on June 12

Could you elaborate on that, yerfatma? I have no idea what bearing that has on ST's comment.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:21 PM on June 12

The acceptance of things as they are != how they should be.

posted by yerfatma at 06:01 PM on June 12

We have two basic and seperate questions here. 1) Does the NCAA have the right to stop liveblogging at it's events? 2) Is it a good idea to enforce that right? I would say that they have every right to enforce whatever standards of behavior they wish at their event. If they want to kick you out for picking your nose that's their business. You have every right to free speech, but you do not have a right to attend their event. That being said, I think it is stupid and short-sighted to prevent liveblogging of the event. Anyone who can get it on TV or radio would prefer that. It is not a threat to their revenue stream. It only feeds the interest of those who already care, either because the other media are not availble to them, or in concert with those media. Much like the early days of radio people are scared of the internet because they do not understand how to use it to promote their product. Most stupidity in the world in based on fear of things that will never come to pass.

posted by gradioc at 06:27 PM on June 12

Yes, but that's your view of how they should be. I completely agree with the NCAA in this case. Having a written account of a game after it ends is not a problem for the NCAA or any of the major sports leagues exactly because of what the Courier-Journal's mouthpiece so feebly used as its excuse: "Once a player hits a home run, that's a fact. It's on TV. Everybody sees it. (The NCAA) can't copyright that fact. Absolutely true, Mr. Lawyer. But the people broadcasting it live on TV or on the radio have paid for the right to do so. You haven't, but you're broadcasting, Jack -- sending out your message instantly to more than one person. That's broadcasting, and if it isn't, why the hell are you doing it in the first place? The point of live blogging is immediacy, is it not? Your reporter/blogger is reporting on events as they happen, so he's not waiting until the next day -- he's doing it right then and there. "The blog wasn't a simulcast or a recreation of the game. It was an analysis." Not relevant (although one of those commenting on the C-J's site said simulcasting was exactly what Bennett was doing). The matter of timing is the issue. I'm all for the freedom of information and all that good stuff, but come on -- this is not the Watergate Papers. This is a commercial entity trying to get around the NCAA's rules and broadcasting copyrights. How would it be any different if Bennett had set up a web cam to show the game from the press box? Do I think eventually the NCAA will allow this? Yes, because they'll realize it has almost no impact and no following. I enjoy it when we do it as a group, and I like it when someone snotty follows the game and makes snotty asides. But will they allow it for free? I don't think they will, nor should they. You want to broadcast, C-J? Pony up like everyone else.

posted by wfrazerjr at 06:45 PM on June 12

I think you're right, fraze. According to that position, I think it absolutely holds water. I just also think that there's no harm in allowing liveblogging, because you're probably for all intents and purposes likely only affecting those markets that wouldn't be able to watch it on TV, and those markets where people are likely doing both. Who the fuck reads a blog instead of watching the game if you have the option?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:26 PM on June 12

If blogging during a game is an infringement against the NCAA or any other institution such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, or the NHL, then ESPN and other news outlets should not be able to give live updates for any other events except what they have paid for. The NCAA is one of the most poorly run organizations in this country,and it's a damn shame that our young athletes are subjected to this type of mismanagement.

posted by muggsy at 08:31 PM on June 12

Absolutely true, Mr. Lawyer. But the people broadcasting it live on TV or on the radio have paid for the right to do so. You haven't, but you're broadcasting, Jack -- sending out your message instantly to more than one person. Very well put.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 08:50 PM on June 12

Who the fuck reads a blog instead of watching the game if you have the option? I don't think anyone does, Weeds, but the NCAA can't allow it to happen in the pressbox of a game where other entities have paid for the right to broadcast live. I think the NCAA could give two shits about Johnny Fann sitting at home watching the game on ESPN Ocho with a beer and commenting on it on his blog, nooneelseispayingattention.blogspot.com. They do, however, care about protecting about the monetary stake of their broadcasting partners, and I wholeheartedly agree with them.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:48 PM on June 12

First, I'm not sure that live blogging is the same as broadcasting, and I haven't really heard any arguments that it is. Second, if the NCAA is arguing that blogging is broadcasting than what Bennett was doing (and any fan also doing it) should be prohibited even if said blogger is sitting at home watching it on television. Any rebroadcast for anything except private home use is a violation of copyright, not just simulcasts and not just by companies trying to make a profit.

posted by bperk at 08:42 AM on June 13

Then you didn't read what I wrote. If you're taking a live event and retransmitting it in any fashion in the hopes of someone else watching it, listening to it or reading it, how is that not broadcasting? What would the purpose of live blogging the event be if not to transmit the event to other people? And yes, it should be illegal for anyone to do it, whether it's a C-J staffer who wants to the limits of the NCAA and spanked for it or John Q. Public. As I said before, if you want to broadcast the game, buy the rights. However, I think the NCAA or any major sport is going to look at it on a case-by-case basis. If you want to have a little CampFire chat and discuss the game among friends (who are most likely also watching the game), I don't think they're going to get bent out of shape. But if you're a commercial entity that should know better, they're going to drop the hammer.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:20 AM on June 13

But why should that be so? Why are matters of public record not public until some corporate entity allows them to be?

posted by yerfatma at 09:40 AM on June 13

When a game is playing the "matters of public record" are generally going to be broadcast live, not whenever they're "allow(ed) to be". It's not an issue of when, it's an issue of who paid for the right. Are you suggesting that "broadcast rights" in general should not be sold?

posted by chmurray at 10:24 AM on June 13

No, I think the issue is the timing. Their not really concerned with people blogging events, just doing it during the game, from their press box with credentials. It's a rights thing. I just think the NCAA comes off looking, well, a little behind the times as it were. I think their legal right of refusal in this case is pretty sound, but I think that the "one step back, deep breath" view paints them in a bad light. It's a poor choice.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:38 AM on June 13

Are you suggesting that "broadcast rights" in general should not be sold? Are you hoping to slap me with the Laffer Curve if I say yes? If so, sorry to disappoint. I just don't see the horrors of Live Blogging taking away from broadcast revenues. World Series games used to be "live blogged" outside businesses all the time, yet baseball never cracked down on those threats to their dollar value. My only argument is that this is short-sighted and causes them more harm than letting people live blog. If they stop every single live blogger at the event, what are they going to do when those people all go home and blog from there?

posted by yerfatma at 11:01 AM on June 13

Then you didn't read what I wrote. If you're taking a live event and retransmitting it in any fashion in the hopes of someone else watching it, listening to it or reading it, how is that not broadcasting? What would the purpose of live blogging the event be if not to transmit the event to other people? The purpose of live blogging would be to transmit important information about the broadcast - not to transmit the actual event. It is the same as ESPN or someone else informing the viewing public what is happening during a boxing match (that they are not broadcasting). Networks and radio stations can't show you highlights, but they can certainly provide updates as to what is going on during the game without paying for broadcast rights. By your definition of broadcasting, no one should ever be allowed to give a play-by-play (even after an event is over) because broadcast rights don't end as soon as the game is over.

posted by bperk at 11:07 AM on June 13

There are a couple of different issues here based on where and what the live-blogger is doing, but the distinctions are important. Perhaps the best way to split it out is to look at (a) live-blogging from a game, and (b) live-blogging from somewhere else. This is more or less a slam-dunk issue for the event organizer. (And yes, I paid licensing fees to George Tenet for use of that phrase.) With respect to live-blogging from a game, the entity putting on the event can prohibit that as a condition of access to the stadium. If an individual (journalist or member of the hoi polloi) is live-blogging from a game and there is a policy by the host (league body or individual team) that live-blogging is not permitted, then that individual can be kicked out of the stadium, as Bennett was here. I personally don't think live-blogging is a very good substitute for a TV or radio feed (although I might look to a live blog to enhance the other feed and get details I might not get from that other feed), but the NCAA or whatever entity is hosting an event has the right to prevent attendees from creating live descriptions of the game for the reasons wfrazerjr suggests. In terms of live-blogging from home (or somewhere else outside of the stadium), however, the NCAA or its broadcast partner likely has a more difficult case to make. As noted way upthread, the legal consensus is that a sporting event is not copyrightable subject matter. However, a broadcaster's telecast of that sporting event is copyrighted. The question then is whether use of that copyrighted telecast to describe the game in a different medium somehow infringes the copyright in the telecast or violates another right of the applicable sports league or broadcaster. Live-bloggers would likely argue that any description of the game is simply a transmission of uncopyrightable facts, while leagues and broadcasters may try to counter that with copyright and/or misappropriation claims. In an article in Wired from 2003, MLB made clear that it viewed the online transmission of inning-by-inning score information (acceptable) differently than the transmission of pitch-by-pitch information (not acceptable). While that article may be somewhat dated, the uncertainty and ambiguity surrounding the legal issues is still there. (yerfatma's recent post on the Slingbox issue just goes to show that these things are still being worked out in the courts and legislatures and over the negotiating table.) The fact of the matter is, the various sports leagues have come to licensing deals with many of the major players offering services in these areas (ESPN's Gameday coverage for MLB games, for instance), so there has not been a lot of litigation here that might clarify the legal landscape. The question now is whether and to what extent, with the emergence of citizen journalism and other forms of user-generated content, the various sports leagues will seek to enforce their rights against individuals or smaller commercial entities that may not have the same economic impact on the leagues' licensing market as the big players.

posted by holden at 11:11 AM on June 13

I just don't see the horrors of Live Blogging taking away from broadcast revenues. I think you're right, and I think it's a telling point that the journalist in question (and, later, U of L), were approached by the NCAA. Live Bloggging may not lower the revenue realized by the purchaser of the broadcast rights, but it just might drop the price tag for those rights if prospective buyers can realize some level of profit using non-traditional means for free.

posted by chmurray at 12:14 PM on June 13

Yes, I'm dense, and just now joining the rest of the thread.

posted by chmurray at 01:49 PM on June 13

I just don't see the horrors of Live Blogging taking away from broadcast revenues. World Series games used to be "live blogged" outside businesses all the time, yet baseball never cracked down on those threats to their dollar value. I think it's more the slippery slope, yerfatma. If the NCAA allows this, what's next? And no one's responded to my earlier question -- how is what Bennett did any different than just setting up a web cam and showing the event that way? As for World Series games, you'll have to be more specific there. Most of the examples of that I have seen fall into two categories: 1) Guys sitting in a room as someone reads the play-by-play off the ticker, a la Eight Men Out. I don't there were any broadcast rights in play then; and 2) Guys standing outside, listening to radio broadcasts or watching televised events. In that case, they're listening to or watching someone who has paid for the rights to the event. Am I wrong about that? The purpose of live blogging would be to transmit important information about the broadcast - not to transmit the actual event. Says who? As I said earlier, that's pretty much what one of the commenters on the C-J site said Bennett was doing -- a play-by-play of the game. And how are you defining "important information"? What's the "actual event"? Is giving a short synopsis of each batter's performance too much? Too little? By your definition of broadcasting, no one should ever be allowed to give a play-by-play (even after an event is over) because broadcast rights don't end as soon as the game is over. You're right there, and it's why someone can't replay the game the next day without having the blessing of the entity which paid for the original broadcast rights. However, if you choose to do a story interpreting the facts of the game after its end, that's cool. Why is that wrong? Oh, and sign me up for an Islanders blog seat.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:20 AM on June 14

how is what Bennett did any different than just setting up a web cam and showing the event that way? No pictures, no continuous uninterrupted descriptions. It is not an exact replacement (economically speaking) for a TV or radio broadcast. It reduces the value of those broadcast rights, but my opinion is the reduction in value is so small as to be non-existent and might actually have an offsetting value (reminding fans hard-core enough to be subscribed to an obscure blog that the game's on right now). As for World Series games, you'll have to be more specific there. Most of the examples of that I have seen fall into two categories: I can't describe it exactly, but there was a shot in Ken Burns' Baseball of a really intricate clockwork device that showed a ball being batted to specific fields, runners on plates, the count, the score, etc. Might have been for a Brooklyn Dodgers World Series. It was a hell of a lot better than a live blog.

posted by yerfatma at 09:55 AM on June 14

And no one's responded to my earlier question -- how is what Bennett did any different than just setting up a web cam and showing the event that way? I think that because what Bennett did is not a perfect, or even close, substitute for a live TV broadcast or radio broadcast (at least in my opinion), the situation is different than if he set up a web cam and showed the event. In the latter (web cam) situation, we are talking about a much closer substitute for the actual TV feed broadcast by ESPN. That said, I don't think it necessarily changes the analysis of the NCAA's right to exclude live bloggers from the premises of games. It does probably cut to their economic rationale, however, as I doubt the live blog has too much of an effect on the market for traditional (TV/radio) broadcast rights. [On preview -- what yerfatma said on this point.] I know I personally am more likely to read a live blog when I simply can't watch or listen to a game (e.g., when I'm at work). At other times, I actually will read a live blog while watching a game to enhance the experience and get a different perspective. So for me, live-blogging is not much of a substitute for something that's otherwise available through a licensed broadcast channel (broadly defined). Perhaps for many casual college baseball fans, following the live-blog when TV/radio is not an option simply increases the likelihood that those folks will actually tune into the CWS when it is broadcast, thus making the broadcast rights more valuable. In that way, things are possibly somewhat complimentary. I think the NCAA has made a knee jerk reaction to a new technology without really thinking through the possible synergies and how this could increase the size of the pie for everyone. It's not unlike the TV and movie studios fighting the introduction of the VCR in the early- to mid-80s on copyright grounds. Turns out that losing that fight opened to them a lucrative market in home videos. I actually think that perhaps the NCAA's better economic rationale isn't that free live-blogging decreases the value of television and radio rights, but simply that it decreases the licensing value of live-blogging rights and/or decreases the licensing value of other types of play-by-play reporting. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that others take a different view than the Islanders and make live-blogging passes available for a fee only. But very forward thinking on the part of the Islanders.

posted by holden at 09:57 AM on June 14

The purpose of live blogging would be to transmit important information about the broadcast - not to transmit the actual event. Says who? As I said earlier, that's pretty much what one of the commenters on the C-J site said Bennett was doing -- a play-by-play of the game. And how are you defining "important information"? What's the "actual event"? Is giving a short synopsis of each batter's performance too much? Too little? I don't think there is such a thing as too much written information that would make live blogging a broadcast. If the live blog embedded clips of the game, then that would be an infringement. A play by play or any detailed subscription is a poor substitute for a tv or radio broadcast. I think the NCAA's view is akin to arguing that a movie spoiler is a violation of copyright.

posted by bperk at 11:03 AM on June 14

I get your arguments, but fundamentally I don't think there's a difference. Bennett was attempting to broadcast the game in a "live" sense, and the NCAA simply can't allow that, at least not without some better controls on who can do it and with what restrictions. I agree that eventually the NCAA will probably view live blogging as a non-starter, or perhaps even a benefit -- for one, having NCAA-sponsored chat areas/live blogs for games featuring universities with large and geographically diverse alumni bases (Notre Dame, Duke, USC) might generate revenue and the vast majority of people would also be watching or listening to a licensed broadcast. But for the time being, to please those who are paying for the rights and get a handle on things before they get out of hand, they made what I think is a pretty reasonable request -- don't come to our facility and broadcast the game without our permission. Bennett and the Courier-Journal chose to ignore that and they were asked to leave. I'm not sure what's so "knee jerk" about that. There's one other point -- before this gets turned more into a "free speech" brouhaha, please bear in mind this was not some fellow sitting at home in his underwear watching the game and cracking wise for a few buddies. This was a corporate entity which regular covers the games and thought it could increase readership by providing another alternative in conjunction with or in contrast to the existing broadcasts. Either way, why would the C-J not have to pay for that right? No pictures, no continuous uninterrupted descriptions. Radio has no pictures, both radio and television have continous disruptions called ads. The blog is on for the duration, with no ads and who says it wouldn't have pictures or audio at some point? I can't describe it exactly, but there was a shot in Ken Burns' Baseball of a really intricate clockwork device that showed a ball being batted to specific fields, runners on plates, the count, the score, etc. Might have been for a Brooklyn Dodgers World Series. Gotcha. I'm betting MLB either knew nothing about it or the concept of broadcast rights were in their infancy and ill-defined. Try that now and Bud Selig will throw dog poop on your shoes.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:46 AM on June 14

fraze -- I think you and I are largely in agreement on a number of issues; as I've mentioned numerous places in the comments on this thread, I think the NCAA is well within its rights to do what it has done here. To clarify my knee-jerk comment, I don't think anything the NCAA did in enforcing its policy is knee jerk. I do, however, think the policy the NCAA has implemented is probably less-than-well-thought out (although they may have deliberated on it a bunch) -- it's just my experience that in many cases when new technologies or media are challenging the established order, the established powers respond in a more reactive and negative way than in a proactive manner that looks to take advantage of possible synergies or ways in which the new can be collaborated with or co-opted for the benefit of both old and new. Perhaps I'm wrong on this point and the NCAA did make a reasoned assessment of whether live-blogging helps or hurts interest in its sports and its available revenue streams, or just said let's close down live-blogging until we have more time to study the impacts on licensing.

posted by holden at 12:01 PM on June 14

World Series games used to be "live blogged" outside businesses all the time, yet baseball never cracked down on those threats to their dollar value. As for World Series games, you'll have to be more specific there. Read all about it. Not much paid broadcast competition in 1927 though.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 12:17 PM on June 14

And that's why I keep you around.

posted by yerfatma at 12:54 PM on June 14

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