Tuesday, June 12, 2007

NCAA boots baseball blogger

Louisville Courier-Journal sports writer Brian Bennett was ejected from an NCAA baseball tournament game because he was blogging the event live.

Louisville circulated a memo on the issue from Jeramy Michiaels, the NCAA's manager of broadcasting, before Friday's first super-regional game. It said blogs are considered a "live representation of the game" and that any blog containing action photos or game reports would be prohibited.
The paper claims its First Amendment rights were violated.

What next, the NCAA bans cell phone conversations about its games?

UPDATE: The New York Times says a First Amendment rights case is brewing.

The eviction of a newspaper reporter from a baseball press box for blogging about a game while it was in progress has stirred a debate about First Amendment rights, intellectual property rights and contract law.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, which on Sunday ejected Brian Bennett of The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., during the Louisville-Oklahoma State game at Jim Patterson Stadium in Louisville, contends it is merely enforcing long-established principles as they apply to a new technology.

But the newspaper is weighing a legal challenge on First Amendment grounds — the right to free speech as it applies to reporting news in a public place.

Jon Fleischaker, a lawyer representing The Courier-Journal, said yesterday that such a challenge might be made, within the next 10 days, because the event took place at a public facility and because the eviction was enforced by the University of Louisville, a public institution that was the host university.

“We’re just not sure whether there is enough official state action to properly be able to say there’s a First Amendment claim,” Fleischaker said in a telephone interview. “We’re doing some work to see who’s on first.”

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