If you live outside the UK, you’ve undoubtedly experienced the frustration of being unable to listen or watch certain matches due to rights restrictions. The example we’re most familiar with is the radio commentary of Premiership matches on BBC Five Live. Instead of listening to Mike Ingham, Alan Green and company, we’re cursed with hearing the audio loop that gives soccer fans more dread than any other (“We’re sorry, but due to rights restrictions…”).
Instead of the TV or radio commentary, we’ve had to suffer with the stopgap solution for several years, namely text commentaries. The bane of our existence, but a solution that’s better than nothing. BBC, and other sites that provide text commentary, get around the whole issue of rights restrictions by publishing factual information, which can’t be copyrighted.
However, instead of text commentary, what if The Guardian, BBC, Sporting Life or a similar sports web site showed animations onscreen to give users an idea of what was happening in the match? Is that breaking the copyright laws?
This leads us to the main crux of this article, which centers around this year’s Cricket World Cup. Sky owns the rights to show the games, but a site named Cricinfo.com found a way to get around the rights issues by showing animations of ball-to-ball coverage to give fans a better idea of what’s going on in matches if they’re unable to see the Sky broadcast.
Read the article to find out how they got around the copyright law. As a side note, if you’re at a Premiership match and you’re a journalist, you’re forbidden from blogging about the match in real-time. But if you’re watching the match on television, you can blog about it.
Of course, the story has interesting implications for soccer/football. Take a look at Cricinfo’s 3D technology here, or see their animations here to better understand how this technology could revolutionize the way we experience matches online where we’re unable to see coverage.
Here’s a perfect instance of how cricket is surpassing football in technology. How much longer wil it be before someone invests the money to adapt this technology for our favorite sport?