Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

Some Blog Law for Super Bowl Sunday

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

NFL logoHappy Super Bowl Sunday!

For some NFL-related blog law, I’ll refer you to a paper I wrote, The NFL, Intellectual Property, and the Conquest of Sports Media, 86 North Dakota Law Review 760 (2010).

It includes mention of the NFL’s extremely aggressive stance toward bloggers that attempt to do play-by-play coverage of games, including it’s ejection of a New York Newsday reporter from Giant Stadium for live blogging.

My conclusion is that the NFL’s press policies and its assertions of intellectual-property ownership represent a threat to press freedoms of the sports and news media.

Australia’s Attempts to Curtail Twitter Bullies Ineffectual

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

The Canberra Times is reporting that the leader of New South Wales is asking the Australian federal government for tighter controls on what are called Twitter “trolls.”

The request is in response to an incident in which a star rugby player received an anonymous vulgar Tweet regarding his mother, who died of pancreatic cancer.

To put this in context, online abuses that get almost universal disapproval here in the United States – but that are protected speech under the U.S. Constitution – are actually out of bounds under Australian law, according to the newspaper:

A Twitter user or troll found to ”menace, harass or cause offence” using the social networking medium could be jailed for up to three years.

A person can be prosecuted under this section if they use a ”carriage service” – essentially, any communication device – to pressure another person, in a way that would be regarded by ”reasonable persons” as being ”menacing, harassing, or offensive”.

There are also laws at state level that can be used to stamp out offensive online behaviour.

But there’s one major caveat. Because these “trolls” set up bogus accounts to do their dirty deeds and then deactivate them quickly, it seems that no one has actually been prosecuted for their Twitter behavior.

Cricketer’s Twitter Libel Suit Sustained

Monday, March 14th, 2011

A court in the United Kingdom has rebuffed an attempt to throw out a Twitter libel suit brought by a New Zealander cricket player.

Cricketer Chris Cairns of New Zealand, a right-handed allrounder, alleged that cricket administrator Lalit Modi libeled him with a tweet about match fixing.

Modi’s attempt to have the case dismissed was based on the argument that so few people saw the allegedly libelous tweet, that it would be a waste of court resources. The court did not agree, saying in its decision,

A claimant’s primary concern in a libel action is vindication, not damages for what has been suffered in the past. So the damage that has occurred before the action is brought may not give an indication of the importance of the claim. Vindication includes a retraction, or a verdict for the claimant, or a judgment to the effect that the allegation complained of is false.

The Pinsent Masons law firm discusses the decision on their Out-Law blog.

Blogger’s E-mails Implicated as NFL Owner Tries to Get Reporter Fired

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Dan Snyder's graffitied mug as published by the Washington City Paper

The Washington Post reports that it has been asked by attorneys for Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to preserve e-mails between Dan Steinberg, a Washington Post sports blogger, and Dave McKenna, a staff writer for the Washington City Paper, an alternative weekly.

Snyder, angered over a cover story written by McKenna, “The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder”, is threatening legal action. For now, he’s complained the paper’s owners trying to get McKenna fired.

Social Media Restrictions on Athletes at Public Universities

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Eric P. Robinson at Citizen Media Law Project writes about Twitter bans on football players at public universities and the First Amendment.

Tennessee AG on Media Credentialing at State Universities

Friday, August 13th, 2010

I’ve come across an interesting opinion issued by Tennessee’s attorney general regarding restrictions placed on uses of photographs and other content made by members of the credentialed media at sporting events hosted by state universities. Much of the opinion is dubious, including the assertion that University of Tennessee sports events are not “public events,” a position supposedly rationalizing restrictions on the press’s publication of content gathered through their in-venue attendance at athletic contests. The opinion notes that media credentialing applies to blogging activities.

The battle over the legality of blogging from sporting events is only in its opening stages, but this AG opinion is a good example of position-taking on the part of sports teams and leagues.

(The link to the Tennessee AG opinion was provided by a in response to a post by Robert J. Ambrogi at Media Law blog.)

Podcast on Bloggers’ Use of Mainstream News

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

A podcast from the Legal Talk Network tackles the issue of bloggers’ legal and ethical obligations regarding use of material from mainstream news sites. In the piece, lawyers Robert J. Ambrogi and J. Craig Williams interview Alan Schwarz, sports reporter for the The New York Times. Schwarz is critical of bloggers who go too far in using copyrighted content. Schwarz says:

When you create your own work, you have rights to its dissemination. You know, this whole information, you know, “wants to be free” business is a bunch of hooey. It’s preposterous. And an entire generation of Americans has grown up with no respect for copyright law.

For the purpose of policing his own material, Schwarz has a Google alert set to notify him when a blog uses his name. I would assume many reporters do the same. (Hi, Mr. Schwarz!)

Note: This post was revised July 9, 2010, as explained here.

NBA Fines Player $35K for Blogging Gripe on Foul Calls

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Orlando Magic center and two-time NBA defensive player of the year Dwight Howard has been fined $35,000 by the league for posting a gripe about what Howard sees as the unwarranted attentions of officials. Howard blogged:

I’m not looking to say anything to get myself in trouble with the league, but I just don’t see other star players getting called for fouls the way I get them. No star player in the league is outta games the way I am.

More: WESH Orlando; Yahoo! Sports; Miami Herald