When it’s hosted by an SEC school trying to squeeze every drop of revenue out of it, of course.
So sayeth the Attorney General of Tennessee, anyway.
May a public institution of higher education, supported by taxes paid by citizens of Tennessee, give approval to an agreement that would restrict the rights of the press and public to use material that is gained at a public event for public dissemination?
Yes. A Tennessee public institution of higher education may take any legal measures that are intended to protect its rights under copyright law to photographs or other visual representations arising from athletic events involving its athletic teams. These events are not “public events.” A member of the press must agree to the terms and conditions of the press credential policies in order to gain admittance and take photographs or video images of the event. The press credential policy of UT reserves the rights of UT and the SEC to images from athletic events in a variety of ways, and thereby limits the use and dissemination of photographs, video, and other representations, based upon copyright law, trademark law, and other legal principles.
Needless to say, local media ain’t happy with that call.
… At the root of the issue is money.
Like the professional sports leagues, universities are coming to see sports media content as product to be marketed and sold. As a result, the day may come when independent media coverage of sporting events will no longer be allowed access, and the university will become a media conglomerate in addition to a sports-entertainment franchise.
If that happens, an organization such as the News Sentinel will have to operate outside of events and make its niche as an unauthorized alternative to the government-run coverage.
Alarmingly far-fetched? Maybe. (Although UT is the school that charged the media to attend one of this past spring scrimmages.) In any event, even if you’re not a particular fan of the media, it can’t be a good thing from a fan perspective if access is limited to those who are willing to pay for it. Or if the schools restrict what can be covered in the first place…