The SEC has announced that people attending any SEC football games are barred from posting on Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, TwitPic, or any other service because they own the copyright to everything that happens at the stadium. The SEC claims that all such media coverage rights belong to CBS because the two have just signed a 15 year, $3 billion contract.
Earlier this month, the conference informed its schools of the new policy, which reads: “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.”
While Major League Baseball has had a similar policy for years, they have not enforced it in relation to social media sites that post video clips or short messages about their games. If the SEC is serious about enforcing this policy, they will soon find that it is an impossible task.
Unlike the SEC, the Big Ten has embraced social media. Abilene Christian University of the Lone Star Conference is also planning a big social media event for the start of their season.
I suspect that the SEC has implemented this policy to 1) placate CBS with a promise to crack down on copyright. After all, a $3 billion investment needs some guarantees and 2) When the SEC does crack down on people who abuse the privilege, for example by uploading full games and/or selling them, the have a legal leg to stand on.
What this really amounts to is the SEC is covering their asses, however, they should have been more clear on the matter. Individuals will be upset at the changes as they have been made with no explanations. This leads to speculation and fear. While we all want to keep our rights to take photos at the game or film a short clip, we need to know that we won’t be hauled off to jail for it. The SEC should have been more forthcoming about the changes and been upfront as to why they’re doing it. Everyone understands that CBS needs to protect their investment. Just don’t treat the fans like idiots because of it.