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When you see a message like this during today’s Super Bowl, ignore it

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Here’s a brief message that the NFL put on during last year’s Super Bowl, and there’s no doubt that they’ll air something similar this year:

Here’s a transcript of the voiceover:

This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience. Any other use of this telecast or any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL’s consent is prohibited.

Ars Technica points out that the second sentence is “bunk from a legal standpoint”. You can record the Super Bowl (your right to do so was pretty much locked in during the 1984 “Betamax” case) to watch later and skip the commercials, even though they’re often the best part. Fair use lets you use clips for commentary, criticism, and news reporting, and it is your right to give your own account of the game using the medium of your choice.

The NFL is working hard to make sure that you misunderstand copyright law, because they feel that any part of the pro football conversation that isn’t under their control means that they’re losing money that they believe is rightfully theirs. Thankfully, the folks at Ars Technica are making sure that you do understand it. Go and read their article, then feel free to record the game and post highlights on YouTube.

One reply on “When you see a message like this during today’s Super Bowl, ignore it”

The software industry has been even more successful at convincing its customers that using software is an exclusive right of the copyright holder (it isn’t) and that you need a license (you don’t.)

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