New applications for IP

The Guardian reports that the English Premier League is asserting its copyright over fans sharing short films of goals on social networks:

Dan Johnson, director of communications at the Premier League, said posting goal vines was illegal, as was sharing the videos on websites such as Twitter, and amounted to breaking copyright laws.

“You can understand that fans see something, they can capture it, they can share it, but ultimately it is against the law,” he told the BBC’s Newsbeat programme. “It’s a breach of copyright and we would discourage fans from doing it, we’re developing technologies like gif crawlers, Vine crawlers, working with Twitter to look to curtail this kind of activity. I know it sounds as if we’re killjoys but we have to protect our intellectual property.”

If it is really possible to copyright events, so that making or distributing images would be illegal, this could provide a solution to the modern problem of hardworking police officers being pilloried by the public when a viral video shows them working hard to beat a crime suspect senseless. Police departments could declare certain operations to be “performances”, and then impose heavy fines on anyone who distributes video on social networks.
(They’d need a release from the accused, who also participated in the performance, but the Metropolitan Police have never had difficulty obtaining the signatures they need.)

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