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Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Brooklyn Law Prof Takes on the NFL

Wendy Seltzer, a visiting assistant professor at the Brooklyn Law School, is embroiled in an intellectual property battle with the National Football League. Seltzer has been detailing her battle with the league over her posting of an NFL clip from Youtube on her own blog for a while. Yesterday, ars technica picked up the story, which has since been reported in the mainstream media (I heard about this through fark).

No, Seltzer didn't post a clip of a hard hit, a long pass, or an impressive run up the middle. Rather, she posted the NFL's copyright notice, which most football fans have seen numerous times on TV:
This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience, and any other use of this telecast or of any pictures, descriptions or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent is prohibited.
According to Seltzer, she wanted to demonstrate to her students that, from a legal perspective, the NFL's statement was false. Namely, the NFL's warning fails to make any mention of "fair use."

Likely unaware that it was dealing with an Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer, the NFL pursued its Digital Millenium Copyright Act remedy, asking Youtube to take down the clip. Seltzer filed a counter-notification, claiming that her posting represented fair use.

As a blogger who regularly lifts copyrighted images (but so far, no video clips) for educational purposes, it may be obvious that my sympathies lie with Professor Seltzer. I've long thought that law professors who blog could claim a fair amount of fair use protection for images (those blogs sponsored by deep-pocketed publishers seem to avoid possibly copyrighted images). However, I have to admit that were anyone to ask me to take down a picture the rights to which they own, I would probably pull it off the blog.


The WSJ Law Blog had a nice posting yesterday that also received responses from both the NFL and Seltzer.

Anonymous Chris -- 3/22/2007 8:33 AM  

Good link. Thanks!

Blogger Geoffrey Rapp -- 3/22/2007 9:36 AM  

Great story -- there are some who seek to take away (or at least severely curtail) the Fair Use rights enjoyed by all Americans.

Good luck to Wendy Seltzer.

Anonymous Lou P. -- 3/22/2007 12:44 PM  

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Anonymous umutdolu team -- 3/25/2007 8:16 AM  

I too feel like I would probably take an image off of my site if the rightful owner asked me to. On the other hand, I feel like the NFL or any other large corporate entity has only hostile intentions when they attempt something like this. Is it really hurting them in any way if Wendy Seltzer has their copyright notice on her site?

Blogger WMUpsci_student -- 3/28/2007 10:23 AM  

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