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Posting Soccer Goals On Vine Is Illegal, Say England's Premier League 226

Posted by Soulskill
from the forget-what-you-learned-in-kindergarten dept.
New submitter JonnyCalcutta writes: The football Premier League in England is warning about posting clips of goals on online services such as Vine and Twitter. The claim is that posting these clips is "illegal under copyright laws." I'm naturally dubious about blanket statements from rightsholders already known to push the truth, especially concerning such short clips, but I don't know enough about copyright law to understand the implications fully. Is it illegal? What can they actually do about it? Does adding commentary give the uploader any rights to post?
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Posting Soccer Goals On Vine Is Illegal, Say England's Premier League

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  • Pinch of salt needed (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    They have a history of lying about copyright (claiming the the fixture list was copyrightable - they even sued over it, their legal arguments bordering on the vexatious).

    No doubt they hold the copyright to their footage of the matches, but whether they can claim copyright over all video of the match regardless of origin is dubious at best. Where's the creative aspect required?

    • by AvitarX (172628)

      They'll have to claim the fix the games to make them interesting, and that it's performance art and not competition perhaps.

      • They'll have to claim the fix the games to make them interesting, and that it's performance art and not competition perhaps.

        Of course it is. Just look at the way some of them fall over; sometimes it borders on interpretive dance.

    • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Friday August 15, 2014 @10:21AM (#47678013) Homepage

      They are claiming copyright over their own footage.

      The phenomena at question is that of people uploading mobile phone footage of TV footage, not of their own video of the match.

      • That is not what a Premiere League spokesperson stated in a recent interview with someone from the British media and was aired on NPR this morning. They specifically pointed out the cases where people record or take photos of parts of the game from their phones and post to Twitter/Vine.

        Also, interesting to note, the interviewer specifically pointed out the NFL as going through the same type of frustrations. In typical British media form, the interviewer was pandering to corporate interest in focus and langu
        • Also, interesting to note, the interviewer specifically pointed out the NFL as going through the same type of frustrations. In typical British media form, the interviewer was pandering to corporate interest in focus and language, and didn't make a single mention of the rights of the recorders, which seems perverse given that many Vines fit comfortably under the measures of Fair Use in the U.S.

          IANAL, but while it seems Fair Use might cover a snip from a commercial broadcast or even arguing a private short clip of a performance (or game, if you prefer); assuming the actual playing of the game constitutes a copyrighted work, there is still the contractual issue that often forbids taping the performance. That would seem to me to be the way to prevent distribution of the clip.

          • IANAL either but as i understand it ... under UK Copyright law there is no "fair use" exception.
            • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday August 15, 2014 @11:54AM (#47678875)

              ... under UK Copyright law there is no "fair use" exception

              That is correct. There are some specific exceptions, commonly referred to as "fair dealing" over here, and there have been some recent developments that will expand the scope of the exceptions, but there is no generic limitation on copyright determined by a set of qualitative tests like the Fair Use rules in the US. However, if we're talking about someone's own footage of the goals, the more important issue might be what the contract was when they bought their admission ticket.

              If the conditions of entry clearly say no recording is allowed and that if any recordings are made anyway then all rights are assigned to the organisers, then my expectation is that the uploaders won't have a leg to stand on here. It would be very surprising in this day and age if such terms weren't routinely included, and I fully expect that this is how any debate about legality will wind up being resolved.

              On the other hand, if there's nothing prohibiting the use of recording devices and nothing claiming any rights over recordings made by spectators, it might be tough to argue successfully in court along the lines that someone's personal recording was a copy or derivative work of some official recording that the organisers sell to TV networks. It's not an unprecedented idea: publishing photos of major public landmarks like the Hollywood sign or Eiffel Tower can be legally hazardous, particularly if commercial use is involved. However, those restrictions tend to result from some carefully contrived/created edge cases in the legal position for specific places, and it's hard to see how anything similar applies to a football match.

              (IANAL so obviously you shouldn't trust anything you just read if it actually matters to you.)

            • by sg_oneill (159032) on Friday August 15, 2014 @12:52PM (#47679427)

              There is something called a "fair dealing" excemption that is recognized for british copyright.

              Theres a case that pretty much specifically shows the premier league hasn't a leg to stand on.

              Back in 1991 the BBC sued British Satelite broadcasting for showing clips of between 14 seconds to 30 seconds of goals , sometimes in slow motion, and the like from the 1990 world cup taken from BBC footage. The BBC said it had exclusive rights from FIFA therefore the BSB had no rights to rebroadcast the clips.

              The court disagreed and found that the short clips where covered under fair dealing provisions and that it was ok to take the small clips and rebroadcast it.

              Further under the Restricted Practice Act its possible to show that such exclusivity deals can *sometimes* be considered invalid as anti-trust , particularly if the exclusivity is for pay-to-view events covered under scheduled Listed Events.

              In a nutshell, I suspect this is an empty threat and the premier league would have trouble convincing a court that a contract between it and the exclusive broadcaster somehow binds a third party who never agreed to it and thus has recourse to normal rights associated with copyright fair dealing.

              • by sg_oneill (159032)

                To add to this, if you got a drone or helicopter with a *really* good telescopic lens, or perhaps a window with a view at a local skyscraper, sports games are not copyrightable, only a specific recording. But since you havent entered the grounds, its *clearly* a public space and you havent agreed to the ticket conditions, you can stream the whole damn event and theres not a god damn thing that can be done about it by a parasitic rightsholder.

        • They specifically pointed out the cases where people record or take photos of parts of the game from their phones and post to Twitter/Vine.

          And said what about them? They're presumably covered there by the T&C's of admission/ticket holding.

      • They are claiming copyright over their own footage.

        The phenomena at question is that of people uploading mobile phone footage of TV footage, not of their own video of the match.

        I do not know what the premier league tickets say; but many venues, sports or otherwise, have limits on recording in the contact for the ticket. Realistically, most seem not to care about the iPhone clip posted to a web site; quite frankly it seems that fan clips wouldn't diminish the value of the venue's film. If I want a copy of a concert or game I buy the DVD, if available, because it is actually viewable in its entirety even if it lacks the shaking, background noise and random commentary of the iPhone v

        • I see no way in which a ticket limiting recording automatically transfers copyright of the recording from the creator to the venue.
          It might allow the venue to kick out the person doing the recording, but it certainly doesn't hand them copyright to the work.
           

          • I see no way in which a ticket limiting recording automatically transfers copyright of the recording from the creator to the venue. It might allow the venue to kick out the person doing the recording, but it certainly doesn't hand them copyright to the work.

            I would see two issues:

            1. It is a contract violation and thus they could be forced by a court to delete or turnover the recording since it was made in violation of the contract

            2. The venue owns the copyright to what was presented and thus even if you own the copyright to your recording you still cannot use it since you do not own rights to the performance.

  • by goruka (1721094) on Friday August 15, 2014 @09:17AM (#47677355)
    Even if thee free publicity would lead to more people watching and consuming soccer-related products and services in the long run, It's always good to see honorable institutions such as the Premier League inciting everyone to be a good citizen and abide the law, at the cost of them losing money. A true example to follow.
  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki&cox,net> on Friday August 15, 2014 @09:21AM (#47677385)

    EPL -might- be right. British law, particularly copyright law, is a little weird.

    We're going to get a LOT of US Centric comments here, but I'm really hoping someone with an understanding of British law can help clear up this mess.

    • by Xest (935314) on Friday August 15, 2014 @10:36AM (#47678191)

      British copyright law really isn't that weird, perhaps the most weird things about it are the desperate attempts by police to take down piracy websites using fraud laws because it's the closest thing they could find - a tactic which has only netted them mixed success at best. British copyright law is actually fairly typical because it's based on the Berne convention like that of most countries. The Premier League is clearly arguing that Fair Dealing does not exist under UK law, which is patently false.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org]

      Posting short snippets of a match on Twitter could arguably fall under any of the fair dealing exemptions, though at least 3 of them it seems to clearly fall under - i.e. criticism, review, and reporting of current events. The argument that such posts are for research are tenuous, but not impossible to make, but the argument that they fall under criticism, review, and reporting of current events seem to be pretty bulletproof.

      Provided there is no commercial gain in the posting, and provided people stick to small snippets of just the goals then it seems pretty clear that the Premier League is outright lying and should simply be told to go fuck itself. Fair Dealing also requires that the original work already be available to the public in the first place, but that's also a given given that the whole fucking point in such football matches is that they're a public performance - the guys on the pitch aren't playing for shits and giggles like kids in a schoolyard, they're playing to make money and entertain, that is after all why they have stadiums and cameras around them that also then make a fortune broadcasting the event across the globe to millions of people, so the Premier League clearly can't use that argument either.

      Given that the reason people post goals in the first place is to say "What an amazing goal!" or "What a shit goal!", given that the performances are clearly available to the public to start with (anyone can pay to see one live or on TV), and providing no commercial motive then I don't see how the Premier League could ever possibly argue that this isn't a legitimate use of the criticism or review clauses against the performance in question.

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday August 15, 2014 @09:22AM (#47677399) Homepage
    So what may be illegal in England is not necessary illegal in the United States.

    In the United States, you are definitely allowed to show a short clip of the the guy starting at the kick and ending at the goal.

    Merely putting a comment under the video is unlikely to help your legal case in any country. But burning a voice over into the video would add 'original content' to it, and that might give you more rights.

    • So what may be illegal in England is not necessary illegal in the United States.

      In the United States, you are definitely allowed to show a short clip of the the guy starting at the kick and ending at the goal.

      Not exactly. It should be legal in the USA if the clip is really short, but there are no guarantees. Neither lawmakers nor courts have ever explicitly defined what "Fair Use" means, so if someone says "it's Fair Use" and a copyright holder disagrees, it takes a court case to rule on who is right. And as I always say, if you go to court in the USA, literally anything at all can happen. One court might rule that a 10 second clip is clearly Fair Use and another might rule that it's clearly a copyright vi

      • Not to mention that going to court to defend your Fair Use rights will cost you time and money. So if Big Corporation X says "that video you posted including a tiny snippet of our material is violating our copyright. Take it down.", you have two options:

        1) Take it down. Pro: You don't spend a lot of time and money fighting a lawsuit. Con: You've rolled over instead of defending your Fair Use rights.

        2) Keep it up and fight for your Fair Use rights. Pro: You are defending your rights. Con: You can spend

  • Ticket ToS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Friday August 15, 2014 @09:22AM (#47677401)
    What terms of service do you agree to when you purchase a ticket and attend the event? Do you agree not to take and post videos of the event?
    • by Arathon (1002016)
      this is pertinent, but doesn't affect copyright law, which in most countries exists regardless of and completely separate from most contractual agreements.

      as I mentioned elsewhere, they might have standing to eject you from the stadium over a breach of this contract, but that doesn't mean copyright law is applicable.
      • In a similar fashion, you can enter any mall in America and start taking photos of everything in sight. The mall can toss you out and even ban you from ever entering again. If you do, they can have you arrested for trespassing. The photos you've taken while there, though, are under your copyright and they can't order you to delete them (or, worse, seize your camera and delete them). Whether you can use them commercially is another story, but simply posting a shot online would be fine.

        • by Pharmboy (216950)

          Not exactly. There is no freedom of panorama in the US, so sorry, but you are mistaken. Some photos of the inside might be ok, but anything that has arguably has artistic content (ie: more than text) would be fully copyrighted by the designer. You could argue "Fair Use", but the copyright still doesn't change hands, it isn't yours. Years of arguing with lawyers and such on Commons will teach you that.

          • I suggest you read the Photographer's Rights site [krages.com].

            There have been security guards who have harassed photographers for taking photos of buildings because the building designs are "copyrighted." You are allowed to take a photo of a copyrighted object. (If you couldn't, someone wearing a shirt bearing the likeness of any copyrighted fictional character could end all street photography in an area.) You may or may not be able to publish said photo (depending on the circumstances), but you can certainly take t

    • Standard terms of copyright for a performance in the UK - if you video it, you own the copyright on the video, but the performer owns the copyright on the performance so you still cannot legally distribute your video without infringing on the performers copyright.

      • That actually doesn't seem completely unreasonable, however, I think it's really petty to go after people who post goals to Vine, instagram, etc.

    • by Jahta (1141213)

      What terms of service do you agree to when you purchase a ticket and attend the event? Do you agree not to take and post videos of the event?

      The ticket ToS [talkphotography.co.uk] specifically forbids any posting of match content. In fact you cannot bring any dedicated "audio, visual, or audio-visual" equipment into the ground. You can bring your mobile phone with you but, if you use it to capture any of the action, nothing you capture "may be published or otherwise made available to any third parties including, without limitation, via social networking sites."

      The copyright angle is pretty moot. By buying your ticket, you've signed up to these terms and conditions

      • You're making an argument based on contracts, which is not the same argument the PL is making.

  • They may have a point.
    Other than the goals and near-goals, soccer is pretty boring. If you post those, then there is no point in actually watching the game and consuming the advertising.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      That there are so few goals is what makes soccer so huge. I played a different sport where the result might be more like 10-4, nobody really cares about a bad referee call or a few missed chances or the lucky goal it's obvious the better team won anyway. In soccer the result might be 2-1 and there's no end to the bullshit fans will make up about controversial decisions, missed chances, lucky shots and whatnot that meant that they could have, should have, would have won or drawn. It's somewhere between sport

    • by DrYak (748999)

      In pratice, that might be the case. The company is affraid of losing eyeballs (and thus ads revenue) from all the people who woould have wanted to only have a quick recap about the play and would only be interrested into seeing the goals.

      BUT

      The company has clearly bought an exclusive deal over THE WHOLE play. Absolutely whole 2 half-time, and any extra overtime and play-offs. They have paid an excluse right for perhaps *2 hours* worth of Soccer/Football.
      The vines of the goals are only a few seconds-long GIF

  • It would certainly be a violation of copyright law to repost a broadcast of the game. But taking your own video seems like creating a derivative work, if nothing else.

    They would be within their rights to ban the usage of video recording devices inside the stadium, because it is ultimately private property and you've paid to see a performance. They would probably even be within their rights to sue you for breach of contract by making nonuse of recording devices a condition of your ticket price. But failing
    • by gurps_npc (621217)
      In the US, you can post a short clip of a news broadcast, which happens to contain a short clip of the goal being scored, without any legal penalty. If it's short enough, the US government laws declares fair use.
    • You still aren't allowed to distribute a derivative work without the original copyright owners permission outside of fair use or expiration of copyright.

      Also note my other posts on performance rights in the UK.

    • by rahvin112 (446269)

      Derivative in what way? Did he take a video of a video or did he take a video of the actual game? I fail to see how anyone could claim video you shot yourself of live action belongs to them in the form of copyright because you are the one that took the video, they don't have a copyright on the live action and it's absurd to claim they do.

      Now as someone else said, there may have been contract language on the ticket that you agreed to by attending the game that gave them copyright on all your recordings of th

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Friday August 15, 2014 @09:38AM (#47677553) Journal
    I dunno about anyone else, but my reaction to things like this is to say 'Maybe I'll just stop being a fan of your team and stop watching completely, how would you like that?'. These people are not making money off posting little vid clips of soccer (oh, excuse me, 'football') goals, they're doing it because they're fans of the team; they're actually supporting and promoting the team for free, so quit yer bitchin' already unless you want to drive your fans away. Fools.
  • I mentioned the short fair useage rule that applies in the US. Here is the specific law: " In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include â" [copyright.gov]

    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

    (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

    (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

    • In the US, they have no right to stop you from making a vine of it. But that may not apply to England.

      It might not even apply in the US - "fair use" is a defence, not an exception, and showing only the goals or other significant action in a football match could violate the "substantial" clause depending on how well the arguments are made to the judge.

      A violation of clause 4 is also a potential due to the resale value of goal footage for round up sports programs etc.

      • by gurps_npc (621217)
        You can't make a claim of affecting the resale value of something that does not exist yet, because by definition, that thing is not already copyrighted.

        Even if it did, again, a fair use exception would still apply, as a clip of one goal does not affect the sale value of the entire piece.

    • by gnupun (752725)

      (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

      Aren't goals a substantial portion of a football match?

      (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. "

      Won't rebroadcasting goals reduce potential market (stadium and TV viewership) of the copyrighted work?

      • by gurps_npc (621217)
        Have you seen a football/soccer match? Some games have no goals at all. Therefore they are not substantial. More importantly, it says substantial portion, not 'important portion'. Substantial almost always refers to TIME, not importance.

        Fans (the only real market for rebroadcasting) do not care about random goals. If you don't advertise which game etc. it came from it will not in any way affect resale value. Even if you do advertise the specific game, one goal in and of itself will not affect the

        • by gnupun (752725)

          Have you seen a football/soccer match? Some games have no goals at all. Therefore they are not substantial.

          Not so. There are other important (or substantial) portions of the match such as: the near goal misses, the clever dodges, penalties, free kicks etc. I do agree these are nowhere as important as goals, but they are of secondary importance (and still important).

          Fans (the only real market for rebroadcasting) do not care about random goals.

          I disagree. Nobody posts videos of boring or inconsequential th

  • Woe if you post any significant segement of a US football game.
    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      That would be a very relevant and interesting comment if we weren't talking about a completely different sport in a completely different country.
    • Woe if you post any significant segment of a US football game.

      Yes, even posting a single second of those 11 minutes [mediaite.com] could land you in jail!

  • It's not like they actually score a lot of goals.
  • The silliest part of this is that the posts they are claiming are infringing actually increase the value of their product.
  • A football match is a commercial entertainment show - somebody has invested money (lots of it, in the case of football) in producing the show, and therefore has at least a legitimate claim to the content. I don't necessarily agree with the whole copyright thinking, but if it illegal to film in cinemas, theatres and at concerts, then the same holds for a sports match; why would it be different? It is not something that happens in the public space - these venues are privately owned.

    Personally, I think it is a

  • Are you reposting a taping you made from a private TV corp? Likely illegal.
    Are you reposting a taping broadcasted on a public TV station, like BBC in UK or ZDF in germany: grey area. Actually not so grey. You may use it for personal purpose, if your facebook page or your twitter account is already beyond that, I don't know. I assume it would depend on the extend.
    Did you post any of the above on youtube, likely illegal ... even if you have your own channel, you hardly can claim that it is for personal (inclu

  • The Premier League (and their legal strong-arming outfit Football DataCo) have plenty of previous for shakedowns with a flimsy legal basis. First it was fixtures, over which they claimed copyright and demanded extortionate licensing fees (see example: http://www.bsad.org/0506/repor... [bsad.org]). This claim was ruled invalid when tested in court, where in a rare outbreak of common sense it was ruled that fixtures have insufficient creative input to be copyrightable.

    The main reason they're going after goal clips so mu

  • If you video the goal yourself, then it certainly isn't a copyright issue..

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