A recent article in The New York Times helps to explain who this policy is truly trying to target:
The rules are aimed not at the casual fan who might post a few pictures of Saturday’s football game on a personal Web site, but rather those who copy television broadcasts, create their own highlight reels and post them on sites charging for access or advertising.
Bill Smith of Dr. BS can’t blame the SEC for wanting to protect its rightholders:
Enter digital. The ability to harvest video at a high quality and repost forces the rights holder to begin to consider pursuit. When people sell ads on such pages, it’s no longer “fan” oriented, it’s a business. And when that video is placed on line, it becomes discoverable.
Increasingly, there is real money in The Long Tail of old highlights backed by Google ads. Is anyone really surprised that the rights holders are now asking for their part of those proceeds?
Darren Rovell of SportsBiz understands that they are trying to protect their rightholders from bloggers and website owners making money off of their websites, but disagrees with that approach.
But all the rulemakers at the SEC had to do is look at these blogs to find out that’s not how it works. The reason these blogs are successful is not because they have great video angles on a play that you couldn’t see on ESPN. The reason why companies want to advertise on these blogs is not because their blogger has shot incredible photos from the stands.
The reason why these blogs work and are relevant is because, in most cases, they are well written by the biggest fans, they are willing to talk about all the rumors that every fan wants to hear and, despite having less access, come off as being closer to the team and fan sentiment than most beat writers.
The blog Rocky Top Talk has been all over this story, uncovering a podcast interview with Charlie Bloom (SEC’s Associate Commissioner of Media Relations). He believes that some confusion had been cleared up (tweeting, using Facebook, texting is now okay while video is not), but still isn’t sure about the photograph issue. As a Tennessee Volunteers blogger, this is an issue of great importance to RTT.
From what I understand about the updated new media policy, I’m happy to see that the SEC is fine with fans using social media during the games. It seemed like an impractical decree and an impossible one to stop. There still remains some confusion about photographs and some video, which will hopefully be cleared up before the first football game kicks off. I completely understand that the SEC would want to protect its rightholders and prevent anyone from making direct money off of game videos (e.g. someone records video and paid subscribers can view the clip, etc.).
I’m interested in seeing how bloggers are treated. If I’m a blogger who makes some money off of ads, I’m probably getting readers because they like my analysis, opinions, and insight that I provide on my blog. Sure, they might find humor in a video clip I post or enjoy a highlight reel that I found on YouTube, but for the most part that’s not the primary reason people visit these popular team blogs (in my opinion). Will the blogger get in trouble if he/she embeds a YouTube video of a SEC team’s game highlights even if he/she is not the one who took the video and uploaded it to YouTube?