Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The NFL's Intellectual Property Claims

Eric E. Johnson, University of North Dakota School of Law; Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society, has published The NFL, Intellectual Property, and the Conquest of Sports Media at 86 North Dakota Law Review 760 (2010). Here is the abstract.

This article explores how the National Football League (NFL) has used assertions of intellectual property to control media coverage of its activities and events. Some history is uncovered, including the NFL’s project of wresting copyright ownership to televised game coverage away from the broadcast television networks. Also reviewed is the NFL’s spurious claims of copyright ownership over footage shot by third persons. The article further explains how the NFL has, in recent years, begun to use press accreditation as a way to gain copyright ownership over news-media footage and to eliminate competition with the NFL’s own web and television media businesses. It is concluded that the NFL’s press policies and its assertions of intellectual property ownership represent a threat to press freedoms of the sports and news media.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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