07.13.2007 10:31 AM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
NFL restricts Web video use

Looking to keep the Internet operations of its 32 teams competitive with other media Web sites for advertising, the NFL will no longer allow news organizations to carry unlimited online video clips of players, coaches or live game action. By limiting access to news organizations, the teams hope to drive fans to the teams’ sites for exclusive information and clips.

The new rules include video that the news organizations might gather themselves at the stadium. Under the new rules for this season, news organizations can post no more than 45 seconds per day of video shot at a team’s facilities, including news conferences, interviews and practice-field reports.

Web videos longer than 45 seconds of NFL players and coaches can now only appear on the NFL site and official team sites.

“The Washington Post” reported that the NFL’s Washington Redskins have been at the center of this conflict for several years. The team has long denied access to independent videographers, including those from the newspaper’s Web site, to any of its practices or facilities. The team permits local TV stations to reuse footage the stations shot for their news broadcasts on the Web as the only exception.

In contrast, the MLB, NBA and NHL permit unlimited use of video on Web sites apart from game footage.

The new policy covers everything shot by news organizations within team facilities. In addition to the 45-second-per-day limit, news organizations must also provide a link to NFL.com and a team's Web site for any team-related footage shown on those Web sites. The league also prohibits news outlets from selling advertising tied to video gathered at a team's facilities.

The league says it will allow unlimited Web video of stand-up reports at its facilities — those in which a reporter speaks to the camera — as long as no players, coaches or action is shown, as well as allow reporters to produce still pictures or text stories while on team or league property.

A coalition of news organizations has been quietly lobbying the NFL for months to change the rule. According to the “Post,” legal experts say the policies do not violate any laws because the NFL is entitled to establish the terms of access to its privately owned facilities.

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