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Internet/Tech Companies File Complaint With FTC On Media and Leagues’s Broadcast Copyright Warnings

An interesting push from a coalition of tech/Internet companies against sports leagues’ copyright boundaries: the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), a trade group that represents Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against NFL, MB, NBCU, Morgan Creek Productions, DreamWorks, Harcourt and Penguin. The complaint says the companies are trying to intimidate the public when issuing inaccurate warnings about making “unauthorized” copies of their work, reports News.com.

An example of what MLB broadcasts before its TV games: “Any rebroadcast, reproduction or other use of the pictures and accounts of this game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball is prohibited.” The group says the companies are overstepping bounds with their warning, and the FTC to investigate and order copyright holders to stop wording warnings in what it sees as a misrepresentative way.

Many warnings “materially misrepresent U.S. copyright law, particularly the fundamental built-in First Amendment accommodations which serve to safeguard the public interest,” the complaint alleges, reports WSJ. CCIA President Ed Black said the warnings create a “chilling effect,” dissuading consumers from using portions of the content in ways that are lawful.