The networks are resisting.

Fox Broadcasting is fighting motions in several courts filed by a bunch of ex-athletes to compel it to share information related to its agreements to televise college football and basketball games.  It’s tied into the class action suit filed by former NCAA players over the way the organization forces them to sign over their rights to their names and images in perpetuity.  (And why should that be a big deal?  After all, the NCAA tells us over and over, most of ’em will go on to something other than pro sports anyway.)

Anyway, part of Fox’ argument about why it shouldn’t have to comply is that the Founding Fathers wouldn’t approve.

“Although an athlete may insist on being paid when an advertiser uses his or her image to endorse a restaurant or sell cars, it is well settled that television networks may freely broadcast and distribute footage of sporting events without obtaining each participant’s consent,” says Fox in a statement to a Los Angeles court on Thursday.

The network goes on to say that any rule to the contrary would “infringe on the public’s First Amendment right of access to newsworthy events and matters of public interest” and that by requiring consent, “it would be impossible to continue televising sports.”

Fox says that the argument that athletes are entitled to a share of TV revenue is “farfetched” and that it has a constitutional right to televise sports without paying each athlete.

All that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness stuff is fine… as long as it doesn’t cost anything.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

25 responses to “The networks are resisting.

  1. Bad Mainara

    Awesome. Newsworthy event and public interest. That means anyone with a camera should be allowed to film and use footage. Fox…deal.

  2. gastr1

    I get your point about their citation of the Consitution, Senator, but they are kind of right about the participant consent aspect, no?

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      No, they’re not right. There’s a difference between saying what you want, which is the first amendment, and using someone else’s intellectual property. Movie actors and musicians get royalties. The NFL
      licenses player displays and likenesses ( a/k/a broadcasts). It’s hard to distinguish that from college Players, AFTER they quit playing amateur contests.

      Fox is just cloaking an economic argument in the First Amendment.

    • Mark

      Fox is paying the NCAA for those rights. But Fox is cloaking the argument in the first amendment. Like the first poster point out, if Fox really means that, then shouldn’t CBS, ABC, NBC and anyone else with a camera have a right to photograph and broadcast that game as a news worthy event? They would howl like crazy if the judge took their argument at face value. Thing is, the players are wanting to use the footage to show how they are not being treated correctly. Fox doesn’t want to play along for a multitude of reasons.

  3. Skeptic Dawg

    Now this is where I believe the student athlete actually has a leg to stand on. I have zero knowledge of what a college athlete is required to sign. But, it does seem responsible that for every game a student athlete plays that is televised, they receive $X.XX. Each Ayer receives the same amount, and that dollar amount varies based on the network that carries the game. Each conference can negotiate with the networks as is, only throw in a player fee. Too simple?

  4. Skeptic Dawg

    I do not believe student athletes should be paid. However, I can buy into an argument for a portion of the TV money going to the kids.

    • Macallanlover

      This might actually be a way to pay for sports which generate income without paying every athlete competing in lacrosse, or Equestrian, or any other non-revenue sport which has been living off CFB. With no TV contract, the schools wouldn’t be obligated to pay money to the “entitled”. Sort of a 2012 “survival of the fittest” evolutionary thang.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Are the athletes not already profiting? Their schools get the money, they get better facilities, better food, or so I am told. Georgia ain’t building no indoor practice field for the psych majors are they?

        Far be it from any rational person to defend ANYTHING the Focks orgainization does, so in principle I side with the players, but compared to the room I had in the basement of Reed Hall, the average football player sho do seem better off, right now.

        • Macallanlover

          I agree with the athletes getting some compensation for the “job” they do for the university, just like those who work in the cafeterias, libraries, student assistants, etc., as long as their sport can afford to pay them a modest salary (say $300-500 per month). I don’t agree with them sharing in money from jersey sales, bowl revenue, TV contracts, etc., Sure, they are profiting/benefiting from the scholarship already.

          I think they need some spending money, if their sport is profitable and can fund the stipend, but they are not partners in all the deals.

  5. The other Doug

    Wouldn’t the athlete be responsible for their tuition, room, and board (the expenses) if they were given the a share of the revenue?

    • gastr1

      I can’t see how. On-campus paying jobs exist in a variety of capacities. Just because you work at the Tate Center doesn’t disqualify you from a scholarship or financial aid.

  6. Cojones

    Hope the former players can afford a good lawyer for a long time because these Bozos come with mucho money and house lawyers. It will cost Fox less in the long run to drag this out and continue to make money on retelevised games, etc.

    I thought that the college games were the intellectual property of the Universities since its our teams and logos. Shouldn’t Fox pay the Us and from there the former players try to get their money?

    You can tell that I’m not a lawyer nor do I know how college games are merchandised without full consent for U emblems and icons. This whole compensation of amateurs seems more and more like Pandora’s Box is about to receive the Big One.

  7. It’s odd, but anytime I read anything involving “Fox” anymore, I automatically assume they’re wrong. They cancelled Firefly, televised Palin and Beck, and now they’re screwing over athletes. I can’t say I’m surprised.

    About the least objectionable thing they’ve ever done was hack the phones of dead people for gossip.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      I’m far more entertained by college football players – even the special teams guys who only get on the field briefly, than the actors, reporters, commentators, etc. emplyed by fox. I believe the players are the most deserving of any income derived from any college football proceeds.

    • Macallanlover

      Sorry about your mental disability, New rules/equipment may help others in the future.

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  9. Hogbody Spradlin

    Pardon, I just can’t leave this alone:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Even after 228 years, that is pretty clear, plain language.

    Somehow we get to: “the public’s First Amendment right of access to newsworthy events and matters of public interest”? Does that mean I have a right to free porn or Vegas tout sheets?

    HUH? If there is such a right, it’s probably the product of oh so clever judging in the bygone Twentieth Century. If there is no right, I commend the skills of lawyer who could make that argument and keep a straight face.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      “I commend the skills of lawyer who could make that argument and keep a straight face.”

      Hog, baby, keeping a straight face in light of devastating bullshit is what lawyers do for a living. Facts are only fact if applicable.

      This argument, if that’s what it is, is only about money, and dat’s de facts.

  10. H-Town Dawg

    My reading of Fox’s argument is that if they have a cameraman at an event and he pans the crowd with his camera that everybody who shows up in the shot must give consent or they can then demand a royalty for the use of their image. Or some player standing on the sideline falls within range of the TV camera and so now his image has been broadcast. Does he get to demand compensation for the use of his image? Leaving aside the curious fact that ESPN and CBS are also involved in this but only Fox was singled out for this discussion, the networks have contractual rights to broadcast the games and everything associated with the games. They aren’t required to get written agreements from each and every person – player or not – whose image might get broadcast.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      The institutions of higher learning give the networks blanket permission. (And take the money for doing so.)

      As a guy outside the arena, I have the option of telling the the camera person I don’t want my picture taken. However, if I buy a ticket from the above institution, I suspect I have given my consent, knowing the game will be broadcast.

      If I don’t, I am fair game.

      Fox, I believe is the plaintiff, which probably has something to do with their prominence in this argument.

  11. Mark

    It would be fun to watch what would happen if the players ever unionized. I am no fan of unions, BTW. But in this case, it would be fun to watch because I think I am starting to like the NCAA less than I do unions.