Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Censorship #FAIL

It wasn't so long ago that a number of NFL teams made the decision to stop their players from using Social Media (specifically Twitter). There is a fairly universal consensus that this is just nuts. Why would you feel the need to tell a professional football player that they weren't allowed to . I mean why stop there, why not ban them from using text messages? Well it would seem that college football can do them one better!

The NCAA's South Eastern Conference (a college football division) issued a new set of rules prohibiting fans from using any sort of Social Media at any game events - no Twitter feeds, no Facebook photos, no YouTube videos. The rules effectively banned Social Media from all its stadiums, prohibiting fans from recording video, audio or taking photographs. The policy was specifically designed to clamp down on bloggers and amateur sportswriters.

The official policy, which was released last Monday, set out that fans could not "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."

As you can imagine there was swift and immediate outrage with hundreds of fans going straight to the web to discuss the madness of the decision.

Thankfully the SEC had not consider the implications and impact that such a policy would have on the professional media organisations who cover the SEC season and drive large amounts of revenue. Less then 24 hours later the SEC received a letter of protest from three of the largest of these organisations. Unsurprisingly, the policy was very quickly withdrawn. What may have come as a surprise was the SEC's apology.

The SEC posted the following Tweet (I know, Tweet!!): "To our Twitter fans, we have heard you. We're working on clarifications to our policy and should have something done soon."

An SEC spokesman also commented, saying "The intent of the policy was never to eliminate social media" adding, "Twitter fans, please share the great times you have at our stadiums with your friends. We probably took traditional media rights language and tried to apply it in a new media world."

That may be the only smart thing that has come out of all this - "We probably took traditional media rights language and tried to apply it in a new media world". If only others would learn this.

So the revised policy now reads "personal messages of scores or other brief descriptions of the competition throughout the event are acceptable." However, games still can't be recorded on video, but pictures are allowed to be taken for personal use.


Anthony McG said...

How did they ever think this would be a runner? Insane. Nice to see they backed away from it. Would be interested to see their follow up, if there is one.

Christian Hughes said...

I know - totally mental!