News Agencies Limit Coverage Over FIFA Copyright Claim

The News Media Coalition says FIFA policy reduces news publicity of women’s football event

Major news agencies are downscaling their coverage of the inaugural FIFA Women’s Football Convention starting Thursday because the sports body insists it owns the copyright to video news content produced by news organisations.

Agence France Press, Thomson Reuters, the Press Association, Associated Press, its affiliate, the sports news agency SNTV, Spanish Agency EFE, Europe-wide agency ‘epa’ and German agency ‘dpa’ among others will not offer video coverage of the convention. FIFA, they say, has rejected repeated requests for the assignment of copyright requirement to be removed from FIFA’s terms and conditions of accreditation governing venue entry by newsgatherers. News companies say they cannot ignore FIFA’s continued refusal to respect their rights as content creators.

Intellectual property law states that the copyright in any creative work belongs to its creator, a position recently reinforced by the European Parliament.

FIFA already imposes strenuous controls on how news organisations’ material can be published and distributed and dictates when, where and for how long view news content created by news organisations covering its events can be used.

For publishers, FIFA rules mean removing journalist video news material from digital news sites after a specified period – for the convention and FIFA’s decision-making Congress it’s the end of the year; news material from Women’s World Cup training sessions on the eve of matches must be deleted after 48 hours. Digital outlets, such as news publications, that are not official rights holders cannot use any in-venue content on match-day including press conference or ‘mixed zone’ interviews.

The two-day inaugural Women’s Football Convention was launched by FIFA on Women’s Day this year. Attended by top football administrators and politicians its agenda aims to address key issues around the development and empowerment of women in football.

Please find the full Press Release here.

FIFA yesterday responded to the news organisation’s objections by asserting: The assignment of copyright allows FIFA to be suitably placed to: (i) regulate its use; and (ii) address issues of misuse thereof.