Connected Research

Union policy research in the 21st century

A copyright nut

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No, not me.

A story in today’s The Scotsman reports that a 16-year-old schoolboy is facing a £5,000 royalties charge for breach of copyright for filming, editing and posting on YouTube 10-minute highlights of games involving his favourite football team. (Of course, it’s his local team and good quality clips they are, too.)

So, the team: Celtic? Rangers? St Johnstone? And whose copyright is infringed: the BBC? STV? None of these: but the mighty Buckie Thistle, in the first place; and, in the second, well – that’s a bit confused. It’s not his club which is threatening the charge – he has the full support of the Buckie Jags – but the Highland League, whose official – John Grant – maintains that it has copyright on games involving League teams and that the League’s permission to film had never been sought.

When it comes to matters of principle,  this site absolutely defends the rights of copyright holders – except that this (as the lawyer in The Scotsman indicates) is not actually a copyright issue: the rights holder here is actually likely to be the lad himself. Most football clubs have some sort of ground regulations prohibiting the filming of events (usually because they want to sell the rights on and amateur filming inhibits their ability to do so) and quite often these will stem from generic regulations applied within the appropriate football association. I have no idea whether this is the case within the Highland League or at Buckie Thistle – though the Jags’s support for his activities indicates the club are at least prepared to waive these in his case. But, neither of these appears to have been the ‘offence’ with which he is charged. And no-one this season appears to be broadcasting highlights of Highland League games.

John Grant isn’t, perhaps, the guilty party: officious, yes; wrong: absolutely. An amateur himself, he can’t be blamed for not knowing the ins and outs of the law. But, sometimes, a blind eye needs to be turned, you know? A League Committee meets to discuss the issue in January and it’s to be hoped that the common sense solution – permission to film games is first sought and then given (without a charge for royalties) – is the one that then prevails. In the meantime, you can sign a petition in support of ‘Buckie Jags Man’ – David Smith – here.


Written by Calvin

17/12/2009 at 11:02 am

Posted in Social policy

Tagged with ,

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