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Warning to ‘Vine’ users and football fans – do not post illegal goal clips online

This year’s World Cup saw thousands of football fans sharing footage of goals using the increasingly popular app ‘Vine’. This has led to the Premier League warning football fans that posting these clips are in fact illegal and a breach of copyright.

Dan Johnson, director of communications at the Premier League told the BBC that fans ‘vining’ clips from football matches is ‘a breach of copyright and we would discourage fans from doing it.’

Working with Twitter, the Premier League is developing technology to prevent such clips appearing on Vine. Commenting further, Dan Johnston states ‘I know it sounds as if we’re killjoys but we have to protect our intellectual property.

In the age of instant communication, the control of copyright is proving difficult. What people have got to understand is that copyright does apply to a portion of a broadcast football  match, as with any other form of entertainment. There are costs involved e.g. broadcasting, paying the players, maintenance of the grounds. Like any business, they have to earn money and fans sharing the best bits for ‘free’ could result in the football team losing sales. However, they are also very much dependent on the enthusiasm that encourages people to post these “vines” – what if no-one cared about football?

Strictly, the law says that any unauthorised reproduction of copyright material – which the broadcast matches certainly are – is an infringement of that copyright and actionable in the courts.

The entertainment industry (and I include “professional” sport in that) has always been wrong-footed by developments in technology.  There was a time when the industry sought levies on cassette tapes because they were used to copy music.  It didn’t work, but technology moved on.  They will seek to suppress vines, but some other copyright challenge will no doubt come along in its place.  Despite the advances in technology, the copyright issues remain essentially the same: copying other people’s work, in whatever form, is essentially stealing something from them.

If you believe someone is breaching your copyrights or you have any questions regarding copyright laws, please get in touch today.

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