I’ve blogged before about where the law and practical reality are far apart when it comes to the subject of social media.
This caught my eye this morning on the same topic.
The Premier League are warning fans that posting videos of goals via Vine, Instagram and the like is illegal and breaks copyright law.
Now I know very little about football, and care less about finding out. However, I did a little Googling about how many people are actually interested in watching grown men run up and down a bit of green turf kicking some round leather. It turns out, quite a lot. Who’d of thought it?
Take the final weekend of last season, just for league games. Apparently, there were 36 fixtures that weekend, and over 430,000 tickets were sold. Now let’s assume that about half of those attending have a smart phone, which is line with the general population statistics. Then let us further assume that just 1% of those who have a smart phone, want to snap a quick video and share it on twitter. That is over 2000 potential shares via the social media of the supporter’s choice. In just one weekend. My figures are imprecise but you get the point.
According to the Director of Communications at the Premier League they don’t want to be killjoys. But they are looking at how they can develop technologies to stop it. Good luck with that.
Let’s look at this practically. 500 million tweets sent every day. 1.1 billion Facebook users globally. Over 100 million people using Instagram every month. 40 million registered Vine users.
Whatever your view on copyright law, whatever the statute book and the case law might say… exactly how can this ever be effectively policed? How can you find every Vine, every Tweet, every Instagram picture in the vast, global, social world in which we live? That assumes that the social media platforms will even play ball (no pun intended).
And even if you can, what is it really achieving anyway? Most of those football supporters that share something socially are going to have a very small follower base in real terms. Unless they happen to catch Rooney (whoever he is) doing the world’s most awesome touchdown (?) and subsequently going viral, then it isn’t going to have that much reach in any event. And if you really want to watch a full game, then catching a poor quality 6 second vine won’t discourage many from buying the full Sky package.
So what we have is something that is technically illegal, but a law that will almost be impossible to enforce, and will surely be largely ignored. The Premier League appear to be fighting a losing battle. Social is just too big. How we communicate has fundamentally changed. It’s just that everyone hasn’t figured that out yet.
Time for a rethink?
Note to readers: this will probably be my only ever post about football. Which is probably a good thing.