SBD/Issue 230/Sports Media

SEC Lightens New Media Policy, Allows For Some Online Video

SEC Will Allow Video Of Practices, Press
Conferences, But Will Restrict Game Highlights
The SEC has "revised its policy banning media outlets from posting online videos of sporting events, allowing coverage of practices and press conferences but continuing to restrict the use of game highlights," according to Nathan Crabbe of the GAINESVILLE SUN. The SEC instead will "provide its own video player" of game highlights that media outlets "can put on their Web sites." The revised policy "gives television stations more leeway to use footage and lifts restrictions limiting credentials to full-time salaried employees of media outlets." SEC Associate Commissioner for Media Relations Charles Bloom said the policy "should be much better received by the media that cover the league than the previous one." However, Gainesville Sun Exec Editor Jim Osteen said of the changes, "While we very much appreciate the SEC addressing some of the issues raised about the credentials, we are seeking some clarity on some remaining areas of concern." Crabbe noted the initial policy "completely barred other Web sites from posting video" shot at SEC events, "including practices and post-game press conferences." But as the initial policy was announced, the SEC and XOS Technologies, the host of the SEC Digital Network, "suggested revisions would be made," and "in the wake of criticism, the latter part of the policy was completely lifted." Meanwhile, Bloom said that the conference "continues to review a policy involving fans" that prohibits game attendees from "using any account, picture, video, audio or other information subject to copyright protections" (GAINESVILLE SUN, 8/16). Bloom said of the policy, “The main concern is videos.” He added that fans "would probably be able to tweet from the stands," which had been forbidden. Bloom said of the policy changes, "The thought process is to get it loosened up a bit" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/18).

STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: Tuscaloosa News Exec Editor Doug Ray wrote the new policy is "much closer to something we -- and the audience we serve -- can work with," but it is "not all good and it's not all clear." Ray noted the policy states still photographs of events "may be posted on the internet only in connection with and as part of regular print news coverage, including internet print news coverage." Ray: "That makes no sense to me. How do you post something on the Internet as part of our print news coverage? What is 'internet print news'? ... While the SEC clearly has listened to media news organizations -- like us -- that ridiculed and howled at the earlier version, the SEC still hasn’t given us a seat at the table in developing these new rules. No, we don’t need a cozy partnership. But more discussion might allow us to explain that there's no such thing as 'internet print news'" (TUSCALOOSANEWS.com, 8/14). In South Carolina, Scott Adamson wrote in changing the policy, "things went back to normal," as the SEC "returned to those thrilling days of yesteryear when game coverage was welcome and fans could be, well, fans." Adamson: "For a few days, the SEC got a bit too big for its britches. Fortunately, it decided it didn't want to burn any bridges" (ANDERSON INDEPENDENT-MAIL, 8/14).

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