2014 Sporting events, social media and UGC

The three big ones this year are of course the Winter Olympics in Sochi (about to come to an end), the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (23 July – 3 August) and of course the World Cup in Brazil (12 June – 13 July).

I went with some colleagues recently to give a training session to a news organisation about the various news and reporting restrictions and regulations associated with covering these sporting events – in particular the guidelines for “accredited persons” and the news access rules for the accredited media etc.

However, one interesting issue that came up was UGC – i.e. what happens when it’s consumers who are doing the “reporting” as opposed to the accredited media or other accredited persons (such as athletes or coaches etc). As part of my investigation into that point, I came across the ticket purchase T&Cs for each event.

 The ticket purchase T&Cs for Sochi are located here (“Terms and Conditions” link at the bottom). Rule 17.2 of the T&Cs states the following:

…Images, videos and sound recordings of the Games taken by a spectator cannot be used for any purpose other than for private, personal, archival, non-commercial purposes i.e the Spectator may not license, broadcast or publish video and/or sound recordings, including on social networking websites and the internet more generally, and may not exploit images, video and/or sound recordings for commercial purposes under any circumstances, whether on the internet or otherwise, or make them available to third parties.

Fair enough and not particularly surprising, members of the public aren’t allowed to sell photos, video or audio of the Games, and they’re not allowed to upload video or audio of the Games onto social media at all (although it would seem photos are fine).

The ticket purchase T&Cs for Glasgow are located here. They contain a similar restriction to Sochi, Rule 18.1 states the following:

Images, videos and audio recordings taken or made by you in Games venues… may not be used for any purpose other than for personal and non-commercial purposes. You may not sell, license, broadcast (including on social media sites), publish, or commercially exploit in any manner such images, videos or audio recordings, unless expressly authorised by us.

However, have a look at the equivalent rule in the FIFA ticket purchase T&Cs here. Rule 5.2 states the following (my emphasis added):

Ticket Holders may not record or transmit any sound, moving or still image or description of the Match (or any result, data or statistic of the Match) other than for private use. It is strictly forbidden to disseminate any sound, moving or still image, description, data, result or statistic of the Match, in whole or in part, for any sort of public access, irrespective of the transmission form, whether over the internet, radio, television, mobile phone, data accessory or any other current and/or future media (now known or hereinafter invented and/or devised)…

In addition to photos, video and audio, the restriction extends to any “description, data, result or statistic of the Match”… “for any sort of public access…” As far as I can see, this means that if a consumer posts a comment on Facebook or a Tweet saying: “We scored!”, he/she’ll be in breach of the ticket terms and conditions and, strictly speaking, under clause 3.3 of the T&Cs, FIFA have the right to eject him/her from the stadium!