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SBD Global/August 26, 2014/Media

Premier League Trying To Protect Broadcast Partners In Fight Against Social Media

The English Premier League does not "want you to watch the beautiful game’s best moments on social media," according to Raju Mudhar of the TORONTO STAR. Just like MLB’s warning about getting "express written consent" before sharing descriptions of games, the EPL is trying to protect its broadcast partners as well as online video rights holders. Beyond warning fans not to record and send on social media platforms, "they are actively using web crawlers to find offending material and pull the short videos off Vine (owned by Twitter) and other social media platforms." The big reason the EPL is cracking down is that in '13, "it sold its online video highlights to News International, which owns the Times and Sun newspapers." A league spokesperson said, "We are working with social media providers to take down pirated clips and hope fans understand the need to maintain the investment model that produces the football they love." This "bears watching for two big reasons." First, the EPL’s strategy "seems like a wrong-headed way to deal with fans who are sharing content because they love it, which potentially limits the viral growth of a sport." Secondly, depending on how successful the measures are, "it will be interesting to see whether any other leagues will follow suit." For some reason, football "wants to be the canary in this social-video coal mine, as ESPN and Univision, which held the rights to the World Cup, also went after sites that shared goals from that tournament." To be fair, any league "is certainly within its rights to try to protect its intellectual property, but is it worth the public relations hit of going after your more active fans?" As well, technology "moves so fast that despite whatever measures leagues use in an effort to clamp down, they are really playing a game of social media whack-a-mole" (TORONTO STAR, 8/25).
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