Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
Yesterday we received another email from our good friend Tim Cooper andÂ NetResult, the company employed by the Premier League to protect the intellectual property rights associated with the top flight of English football. The email (which can be read below) relates to the videos which we link to showing footage from the English Premier League.
The battle against copyright theft (and the subsequent debate on what constitutes copyright theft) has been with us for some time, and extends far beyond the world of football. One of the most high profile cases to date was the closure of the television-centred website, tv-links.co.uk. In that instance the owner of the site was taken into custody by British police, his site was shut down, only to be released 24 hours later without charge and spawning the birth of tv-links.ws, which has remained active ever since.
The conclusion we can draw from this case is that while the authorities may not like linking to copyrighted material on the internet, they had no precedentÂ with which to stop it.
And imagine if such linking was deemed illegal. The result would be that a massive amount of online content, whether it be on YouTube, DailyMotion, The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail,Â the BBC forums, Football365′s forum, and a lot more in between, would all be in serious trouble.
On the specifics of our situation, several points need to be stressed. At no time have we ever updated videos on the internet. We do not sit with our televisions hooked up to computers, uploading footage onto the net. In truth, we have no idea how this is done, nor do we have any interest in this process. Rather, all we do is locate already existing videos and link to them through our site.
Furthermore, all videos uploaded onto this site are traceable through to their source, with all videos labelled to their host site (whether that be YouTube, Sapo.pt or Eatlime.com, to name just a few of our sources). This creates a situation of transparency, whereby everybody can see which video hosting site are hosting the videos.
If a video comes down on YouYube, for example, it comes down on 101greatgoals.com.
With that being said, NetResult appear to be targetting the little people like ourselves, without directing their issues to those people truly responsible for this content, namely the large video hosting sites and those individuals who are actually uploading said clips. NetResult are looking to crack a nut with a bulldozer, trying to put the frighteners on people such as ourselves, while seemingly doing nothing against the big players or the root causes of this situation.
If you are based in the UK, access to highlights can be seen on the Virgin Media site. Further, the BBC now stream Match of the Day on their website for UK users only. Yet, at a time when Arsene Wenger recently acknowledged that only 10% of Arsenal’s support is home-based (with 90% overseas), and when the Premier League are themselves trying to force down people’s throats the idea of Game 39, the fact that no such site exists for foreign fans of the Premier League is simply inexcusable. At the very least, there needs to be a free, worldwide accessible site that updates Premier League clips. But we are still waiting.
(We are also waiting for a site that streams Premier League games online, NetResult and the Premier League have recently rallied against Justiv.tv, but there seems to be no intention to provide a legal service for long-suffering fans.)
By throwing their weight around without offering any practical solutions to the issue, the Premier League paint themselves as money-grabbing whores who care more about monetising their product than allowing everyday people, such as you and me, to associate with the best league in the world. Such prohibition is no-doubt the reason why if you type “Man Utd Stoke” into YouTube you will find many clips of the match for viewing.
Videos of the Premier League on the internet are not going away. In fact the opposite is true, with new clone websites of 101greatgoals sprouting up on a daily basis, and new video hosting sites offering their services to house these videos for free. The rabbit is out of the bag, and bullying tactics are unlikely to have any serious impact in returning the world back to pre-YouTube days.
Rather than stomping their feet, we would like to see the Premier League take positive steps to address this issue, much like other worldwide leagues have done. For example, the MLS have their own channel on YouTube (see here) in which they upload high quality videos within hours of the full time results. We would love to link to such a Premier League site.
So why wont the Premier League follow suit?
In today’s current atmosphere, the only logical conclusion is that the Premier League’s only focus is money.
Our most recent letter from NetResult:
The Premier League has the exclusive right to commercially exploit all matches within The Premier League championships including, but not limited to, all moving images and other audio/video content.
We have noticed that your website http://www.101greatgoals.com is displaying, offering, distributing and facilitating The Premier League’s audio visual content (http://www.101greatgoals.com/category/goals/england/).
As you have neither sought nor obtained permission from The Premier League to use this content, your present use is an infringement of The Premier League’s rights.
Please immediately cease all such infringements on any and all of your web sites and confirm to us via email that you have done so.
Nothing in this letter is intended or shall be construed to constitute an express or implied waiver of any of The Premier League’s rights or remedies, including any rights or remedies in respect of infringement not explicitly stated, whether current or in the future, all of which are expressly reserved.
I hereby state that The Premier League is the owner of the exclusive rights referenced above and that NetResult is authorised to act on its behalf with respect to internet monitoring and compliance.
On behalf of The Premier League I hereby state that I have a good faith belief that use of the content in the manner complained of is not authorised by The Premier League, its agents, or the law.
I, Tim Cooper, as a representative of NetResult hereby digitally sign this e-mail message under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America with the additional statement under penalty of perjury that the information in the notice is accurate.