The crackdown on football blogs by Football DataCo and NetResult continues. This time it’s not only to prevent a website using club crests, but FootyTweets has received a cease and desist letter telling the site owner to stop providing match updates by Twitter unless he purchases a licence that will allow him to do a maximum of nine updates per match. The cost? More than £15,000 per year.
It seems quite bizarre and archaic in these days of technological advances, but the Football DataCo governs the usage of everything from fixture lists, match updates and official team crests. Football DataCo is the company which acts as a copyright watchdog for the FA Premier League, Football League, Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League.
Cease and desist letters are quite common these days for football blogs. 101 Great Goals received one for linking to goal highlights, the Premier League sued YouTube, The Offside received one for using club crests — even EPL Talk received one recently for publishing match fixtures and using licensed images without permission. We’ve corrected the images issue, but my response to them regarding match fixtures is that we don’t publish fixtures — we simply publish TV listings for matches shown on Setanta, Fox Soccer Channel, GolTV and ESPN (all with their permission).
For FootyTweets, the match updates were added to the Twitter feed from an outside source. Unfortunately that means that all of the other sites that are running match updates via Twitter are likely to decrease. Or maybe not?
The next consideration for FootyTweets owner Ollie Parsley is seeing if match updates can happen through crowdsourcing. “I think that if we can come together and create a standard way of writing match updates then I, and others can integrate it into FootyTweets and other apps. What do you think? For instance I could tweet “#goal Bent scored in the 90th minute #thfc 1 – 0 #mufc”. This would mean that Marcus Bent scored a goal for Tottenham Hotspur in the 90th minute and the current score is now 1-0.”
This story is definitely far from over, but more importantly it’s another example of how the Premier League doesn’t get web 2.0. Instead of embracing the power of the Internet to increase the popularity of the league and generate more revenue, it seems set on trying to police the Internet site-by-site with old world licensing rules. The longer the Premier League (and other leagues) employ these primitive tactics, the worse the problem gets for them as more technology advances and Internet websites flourish.