UPDATED: August 18, 2009: According to Mashable, the SEC revised the policy. As I point out in my comment, this revision merely brings the policy within existing legal precedence. Video is the only form of communication that is absolutely protected. Legal precedence on Images and Editorial, especially editorial, is not strong. MLB lost a lawsuit in an attempt to protect the leagues exclusive rights to game/player statistics.
“No Bearer may produce or disseminate in any form a “real-time” description or transmission of the Event (i) for commercial or business use, or (ii) in any manner that constitutes, or is intended to provide or is promoted or marketed as, a substitute for radio, television or video coverage of such Event. Personal messages and updates of scores or other brief descriptions of the competition throughout the Event are acceptable. If the SEC deems that a Bearer is producing a commercial or real-time description of the Event, the SEC reserves the right to pursue all available remedies against the Bearer.
Absent the prior written permission of the Southeastern Conference, game action videos of the Event may not be taken by Bearer. Photos of the Event may be taken by Bearer and distributed solely for personal use (and such photographs shall not be licensed, used, or sold commercially, or used for any commercial or business purpose).”
Here's another example of why media needs to go back to its fundamental reason for being - to extend limited access live communication and entertainment to a broader audience.
On August 16, 2009, the St. Petersburg Times (TampaBay.com) talks about the new SEC policy and the huge controversy it has begun in the sports entertainment world. The Southeastern Conference has announced a new policy: "Ticketed fans can't "produce or disseminate (or aid in producing or
disseminating) any material or information about the Event, including,
but not limited to, any account, description, picture, video, audio,
reproduction or other information concerning the Event. …"
This is probably knee-jerk reaction to satisfy broadcast rightsholders who are threatening to call fans publishing content a breach of their exclusivity.
How about capitalizing on new media's opportunity to enable live audience participants to extend the experience to virtual fans. Instead of screaming "breach!" both the SEC and the broadcasters should be considering how to capitalize on this. Why isn't anyone asking how much you could charge a fan for the right to post images/video, etc. from the game on their websites and even offer the fans an opportunity to have access to professional content to post? Why isn't the SEC/broadcasters considering adding language on the tickets that says you consent to let us use images of you or broadcast you in the stands when you publish them online?
Why not consider new ways to create value for the virtual audience by actively encouraging participation of the live audience and new revenue sources.
I've seen other examples of this. On Facebook, members receive cease and desist orders when they post daughter suzie performing a song from a Disney musical. Clearly, this is a kneejerk reaction dictated by FAcebook attorneys. The letter certainly wasn't written by someone in marketing or CRM departments - its plain rude! Why isn't Facebook talking to Disney and other rightsholders about what it would cost to charge fans a license fee and even help them with a better audio track. Facebook is struggling to find a business model - here's one!
But wait there's more!. What about the potential for these fans to generate more fans and more paying customers through their passion for the content.
When will media capitalize on audience participation instead of trying to defend the status quo? When there's a frictionless way to debit for audience use of the rightsholder's content and credit for generating more business for media by the audience participation.