Mind your blackberries--you may be booted from the nearest sports event of choice for representing the events of the day. Louisville Courier-Journal reporter Brian Bennett was ejected from the NCAA Baseball Tournament for blogging about Louisville's eventual 20-2 victory over UConn, and his credentials might not ever be restored. The NCAA regards his blogging about the facts of the game as a de facto rebroadcast of copyrighted material, and said as much in a pregame memo.
I continued blogging until the bottom of the fifth inning, an NCAA representative came to my seat on press row and asked for my credential and asked me to leave. I complied.
Blogging patriot? Brian Bennett, now-rebel blogger.
Somewhere, Walter Benjamin is wandering the streets of the afterlife in a leisurely fashion and laughing to himself. Everyone in the stadium holding a Blackberry or cell phone who said as much as a peep about the game in a digital medium stands guilty of what Bennett did--relaying live information about a copyrighted event. As the Courier-Journal pointed out, the semantic triple lindy here is this: the NCAA seeks not to protect its broadcast rights, but to copyright the actual live facts of the event:
Once a player hits a home run, that’s a fact. It’s on TV, everybody sees it. They (the NCAA) can’t copyright that fact. The blog wasn’t a simulcast or a recreation of the game. It was an analysis.
Thus...our liveblogs of games could be verboten. Along with any updates we send to friends over the internet, any discussion, a picture we snap at the game that gets posted a website with fifteen readers and .38 cents of monthly revenue...all sacrosanct property of the NCAA, or possibly ESPN, or Fox, or whomever holds the broadcast rights to the event. It's a stance only the finest minds of the 18th century could have invented.
We didn't care at all about the College World Series now, but just to piss off the NCAA we'll post a live update while watching the game just to chafe their harbls right good. This is the glorious age of amateurs, and not its centripetal phase, either. Until the NCAA starts taking away cell phones at the gate, Brian Bennett or any other blogger can perform the nastiest of protests: they can buy a seat and immediately start texting away.
Unless the next step is cell phone jammers at stadiums. Don't put it past them.