Who owns high school sports -- UPDATED | Arkansas Blog

Monday, November 5, 2007

Who owns high school sports -- UPDATED

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2007 at 10:58 AM

The Illinois Press Association has sued over a state high school association rule to limit access to and use of photographs from high school sporting events. The Arkansas Activities Association is heading  to a showdown with Arkansas press on this very issue.

It's nuts, of course. The association is funded by public dollars. Most members are public schools. Without the huge (some might say overly huge) coverage that newspapers give high school sports, interest would be vastly diminished. And yet the athletic associations want to up their revenue by claiming reprint rights and such.

Perhaps a reader can update us on where the negotations between the AAA and the media stand here.

UPDATE: On the jump, a note from a newspaper sports editor in Arkansas on the subject. Also, the Southwest Times-Record in Fort Smith won't be sending a photographer to football playoffs because of unhappiness with the rule. Earlier, it had not photographed girls volleyball matches.

UPDATE II: Here's a story from Tuesday's Morning News about the brewing controversy.

In response to my question about what the dispute is about, an editor wrote:

It's another way for the AAA to make a little money.

Tom Ewart, formerly of Hawgs Illustrated, bought the photo rights to all AAA events (i.e. the postseason tournaments). So the AAA wrote this policy forbidding anybody (not just other professional photogs) from shooting photos or videos and then selling them. The AAA contends it's just aimed at professional photogs and not newspapers. But the way the policy is written, it's overly broad. The AAA is claiming copyright ownership over any photos taken at postseason events.

That's where I have a problem with it. If the AAA owns the copyright to all postseason photos, does that mean I need express written permission to run file photos taken during previous postseasons? And if they can claim copyright info over photos that they haven't taken, what's to stop them from claiming copyright on statistics from the game itself?

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