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Thou Shalt Not View The Super Bowl on a 56" Screen 680

theodp writes "For 200 members of the Immanuel Bible Church and their friends, the annual Super Bowl party is over thanks to the NFL, which explained that airing NFL games at churches on large-screen TV sets violates the NFL copyright. Federal copyright law includes an exemption for sports bars, according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, but churches are out of luck. Churchgoers who aren't averse to a little drinking-and-driving still have the opportunity to see the game together in public on a screen bigger than 55 inches."
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Thou Shalt Not View The Super Bowl on a 56" Screen

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  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Saturday February 02, 2008 @07:41PM (#22277220) Homepage Journal

    I hope the NFL enforces this across America. Since most people are apparently too stupid to notice how the greedy bastards are taking away their freedoms, maybe this will wake more than a few of them up.

  • by JeanBaptiste ( 537955 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @07:44PM (#22277258)
    on my slashdot? it may be more likely than i think. seriously though, here's a story about 2 very non-geek things apparently in conflict with each other. weird.
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @07:58PM (#22277424) Journal
    After all, it's really hard to make a profit on the Super Bowl.

    After all, the advertisements were set at an as low rate as $90,000 per second [].

    Seriously, let's think of the NFL for once. :-(
  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @07:58PM (#22277428) Journal

    What "original authorship" exists?
    The editing, the commentary? It's not like there is a single camera fixed on the field. Also the teams are really entertainers and the sport can be considered an improvised performance.

    Furthermore, to be copyrighted, a work must be fixed into a "tangible medium." That is not the case for a live broadcast (although it might be for an after-the-fact replay).
    If IP addresses held in RAM can be considered "fixed", then a live broadcast can certainly also be considered fixed.
  • by TheClam ( 209230 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @07:59PM (#22277448)
    I suggest you talk to the director and cameramen and ask them if there's no creative work going on.
  • Re:2007 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:00PM (#22277452)
    This whole thing is ridiculous. Yes, the NFL is overzealous in protecting their content and possibly to the point of going over the line. However, I'm tired of all these bullshit excuses to get the population behind an individual or individual group's causes by saying such and such a company did XYZ to me... AND I'M A MOTHER WITH SIX CHILDREN! or such and such a company had the audacity to do this to us... AND WE WORSHIP BABY JESUS!.

    Who cares? Squirting out kids or belonging to a church doesn't earn you special rights, special treatment, special sympathy or special consideration.
  • Heard it before (Score:3, Insightful)

    by peektwice ( 726616 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:07PM (#22277530)
    A person I know works for a church, and that church had investigated this before, and received the same answer. This is not news. It also does not surprise me that there is an exemption for sports bars. Don't get me wrong, me and the booze, we get along great. But if there's a ban on public performance there's a ban on it. Besides, using the NFL's logic, the ban should be the other way around. The sports bar make money showing the football game. Churches are tax exempt, and therefore do not officially make money.
  • Just to be clear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by edwardpickman ( 965122 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:08PM (#22277538)
    I'm not supposed to watch the Super Bowl if I have a 56" TV? Got it. Anything else they don't want me to watch? Not sure how my not watching helps their ratings but I'm happy to help in this case.
  • by TheLinuxSRC ( 683475 ) * <slashdot AT pagewash DOT com> on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:23PM (#22277658) Homepage

    ...but it doesn't mean you get to take someone else's show or movie and charge admission to watch it...

    If the church wants to use the NFL's football games to attract more members to the church, and charge the people coming to the party to pay for that outreach program...

    Read the article; it specifically states that the church was *not* charging admission.
  • Re:You heretics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:27PM (#22277694)

    The real WTF is, people in the USA watch football in churches? How the fuck is that not somehow blasphemous?

    It's the only way to get some of those people to go to Church on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:31PM (#22277736)
    how can they claim a church, receiving/viewing the broadcast, is "copying," and therefore in violation of copyright?

    Since the only practical use of a broadcast is to view it, isn't such viewing (at least non-commercially) "fair use?" Why is it a copyright violation for a group of parishiners to watch together, but not for a family to do the same? Is a license required to view content carried over the public airwaves? (this isn't Great Britain!)

    BTW, you totally missed/ignored the original point - a sports broadcast is functional, not creative.
  • Re:2007 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:32PM (#22277740)

    Who cares? Squirting out kids or belonging to a church doesn't earn you special rights, special treatment, special sympathy or special consideration.
    What's your point? The fact that they're in a church doesn't mean that we should be any less outraged, either. The NFL is abusing copyright law, and it happens to be a church who's getting hurt. The story is the abuse, not the fact that it's happening to a church.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:38PM (#22277802)
    I suggest you talk to the director and cameramen and ask them if there's no creative work going on.

    There are pretty much fixed rules for what and how the game should be filmed. Sure it takes some effort and skill to learn the rules, but there is very little room for "artistic freedom" - a cameraman doing his own thing is likely to be fired.

    Just because something requires skill to perform doesn't automatically make it creative. A plumber requires skill to do plumbing repairs. In fact plumbing repair may even more involve "creativity" than the cameraman situation, since cleverness may be required to work around unexpected problems and unforeseen situations.

  • by coats ( 1068 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:40PM (#22277818) Homepage
    The NFL's absolutist position on copyright (*no* use without permission) is contrary to both the copyright law itselfand in fact to the Constitution. In particular, "fair use" is a Constituional concept: in its original decision that established the doctrine of Fair Use, the Supreme Court said that Congress may not pass a copyright act so restrictive that it destroys freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Inasmuch as that is within the purview of the NFL's business, their statements about this are under law assumed to be deliberate and in full knowledge of that relevant law. Therefore, one must assume that the NFL's fraudulent claims of absolute control under the copyright act are a deliberate and knowing attempt to defraud the public. For that fraud, the NFL should be prosecuted.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:55PM (#22277914) Journal
    Exactly. If they can legally restrict this then any copyright holder can place arbitrary restrictions on who is allowed to watch their stuff on broadcast TV. Maybe a film studio doesn't want people to watch broadcast films on any screen large enough that a home cinema might compete with a corporate cinema? Perhaps Fox would want to only license The Simpsons to people who pay attention to the adverts, and prosecute anyone who pops out of the room while they are on?

    Copyright allows you to control copying, nothing more.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:59PM (#22277936)

    Major sports leagues (NFL, NBA, NHL, etc) have always been pretty strict about enforcing copyright and redistribution rights for their broadcasts. They even put up a big warning like the FBI warning shown at the start of movies. It is their property I suppose so that shouldn't be a big issue of contention.
    They say that, but they step far beyond what they're legally able to defend in court. The reason why they've been allowed to leave those notices up at the beginning of games is simply that they haven't been stupid enough to try and press it in court.

    It has nothing about copyright law or redistribution rights, the notice that you refer to includes as well as the copyrighted telecast/radio broadcast and any relevant images, the right to discuss the game later on or tell people what the score was without the expressed written consent of the league.

    Those aren't protections which US copyright law presently extends to anybody.

    So no, it isn't a matter of the leagues protecting their legal rights in most cases it's a matter of them inventing new rights in order to coerce people to abide by their rules. Even the MPAA doesn't typically sue or send notices to church groups to not show their films. Or at least they have the sense not to allow those sorts of notices to go public like this.
  • Debatable. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <[imipak] [at] []> on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:00PM (#22277948) Homepage Journal
    Technically, a truly live, unrecorded broadcast could be considered transitory and therefore not copyrightable. However, the five second delay means that it is indeed being recorded and therefore is an after-the-fact replay. I'm not sure copyright is the correct instrument to use, though. Copyright is intended for a work, an assembly that is well-defined prior to the copying of whatever is copyright, whereas this is essentially an improvised collection of improvisations, where the assemblage is taking place essentially simultaneously to the copying. Copyright was also never intended for a broadcast medium, where the copy technically exists whether the TV is displaying it or not. (It exists as a radio signal or a cable signal and it exists in the receiver up to the point of discrimination, even if the TV is switched off.)

    IP law is, frankly, a mess. Either unify all the concepts into one single notion, OR sub-divide the existing categories into wholly uniform concepts. Force-fitting one idea into a mechanism never designed or intended to be used in such an abstract manner creates a great deal of confusion over what actually is permissible and makes rational discourse on what should be permissible difficult to impossible. I would argue for unification, partly because you are dealing with underlying principles but also because if the unification is valid and correct, it will remain valid and correct for any future technologies within the bounds for which it is defined. Splitting the categories up into much finer-grain notions would make each rule much easier to understand, much easier to follow and much easier to enforce rationally and fairly, but makes IP as a whole harder to conceptualize and doesn't scale well as new methods of delivering information emerge.

    This church fiasco might - possibly - turn out quite useful if the level of resentment generated is sufficient to persuade the politicians that genuine reform (ie: not in the pockets of corporations) is in the interest of voters and therefore their own jobs. Narking a few churches off, though, probably isn't going to generate enough sustained ill-will to do anything beyond getting a few more people seriously drunk and lower that week's collection takings by a few dollars. Anyone who feels wronged on Sunday will have forgotten by Tuesday at the latest. No, the NFL would need to do something far more serious to do any good for the country.

  • by Capt'n Hector ( 650760 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:04PM (#22277980)

    how can they claim a church, receiving/viewing the broadcast, is "copying," and therefore in violation of copyright?
    I don't know. It probably falls under a public performance clause. I'm not a lawyer, but my post didn't address that issue so I don't know exactly why you're asking me. My guess is that the church receives some monetary benefit from showing the superbowl (i.e., tithes) and therefore the nfl is entitled to a portion of that benefit.

    Since the only practical use of a broadcast is to view it, isn't such viewing (at least non-commercially) "fair use?" Why is it a copyright violation for a group of parishiners to watch together, but not for a family to do the same? Is a license required to view content carried over the public airwaves? (this isn't Great Britain!)
    The non-commercially part is where the question lies. See above. The airwaves being public has nothing to do with it.

    BTW, you totally missed/ignored the original point - a sports broadcast is functional, not creative.
    No, I didn't. You argue that a game is not creative (and I disagree), so I point out that the broadcast of that game is creative, regardless of the status of the game itself. The commentary, the camera angles, the graphics, the production are all creative inputs. Just because it's functional doesn't mean it's not creative. Are you actually arguing that there is NO creative content in a sports broadcast?
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <akaimbatman@gm a i l . com> on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:09PM (#22278016) Homepage Journal

    I personally am wondering what business is it of a church to host a Superbowl party?

    FWIW, a church tends to be more than just a place of worship. It's also a community center. (A tradition that long predates modern community centers.) While no one is going to watch the game in the service area, churches often have a basement or some other meeting area set aside for community events. Watching the SuperBowl together qualifies as a community event, and gives families a place to watch the game together without having to visit a sports bar. (A rather rowdy place during a game like the Superbowl.)
  • I suggest you talk to the director and cameramen and ask them if there's no creative work going on.

    The latest wii soccer game gives very good screenshots of the games. I'd say the way of handling the camera isn't actually creative, but algorithmic.

    Unfortunately, that takes it from copyrightable to patentable :(
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:16PM (#22278086)
    The difference, I guess, is that the bars have a specific legal exemption for public performances. Apparently churches don't.
  • Re:Heard it before (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:23PM (#22278140)
    The problem is "public performance" keeps changing meaning. It used to be that an organized community not profiting from display of content was considered a private audience.
  • by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311&yahoo,com> on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:26PM (#22278152) Homepage []

    None the less, I am not supporting the NFL's ban on showing the game on big screens. If people want to gripe that the NFL has some stupid rule about how big your TV can be, fine.

    What I object to is that the issue is that CHURCHES can't do it. This attitude that churches should not have to play by the same rules as everyone else drives me up the wall. The suggestion that the legislature should amend federal law to create ANOTHER carve-out for churches is ridiculous.
  • by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:26PM (#22278154)
    Did you even think before you just started pounding keys? WHY does the NFL has the right to charge extra just because more people are watching it on one screen? If you started charging admission that would probably be a problem, but that's not at issue.
  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) * on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:37PM (#22278262) Journal

    What I object to is that the issue is that CHURCHES can't do it. This attitude that churches should not have to play by the same rules as everyone else drives me up the wall. The suggestion that the legislature should amend federal law to create ANOTHER carve-out for churches is ridiculous.
    All this church wants is the same rights and privileges as a bar. So, let's take your statement and replace "church" with "bar" and you'll have what is really going on.

    The sad part is that if this church served anything stronger than Communion wine (to people who will be driving home after the game) and charged for it, the NFL would have no problem with them showing the game!

  • Re:I'm Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bdjacobson ( 1094909 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:39PM (#22278278)

    Which does the more damage. A greedy bunch of people that extort huge portions of one's personal income to attend events, or sports people who are so full of themselves that they would turn away a viewing audience just because some one might be profiting on their coattails.

    One poster commented that the NFL has a hard time making money. Well, from the picture of the church property, it does not appear that the church has that problem. It would be nice if the NFL could scam as well as the average christian churches in America. Selective reading lets then demand a tithe, but forget that Jesus destroyed the temple due to money changers in the church. Have American flags and patriotic paraphernalia in the church, but do everything they can to avoid paying taxes, even on clearly profit making activities. Agree to certain political limitations in exchange for the tax exempt status, and then, like the hypocrite, ignore those limitations as they please.

    This is nothing more than a whiny church complaining that once they are being held to rules of civilized society. I know it is a new experience for most churches, having to comply with the rule of law, but it happens. They can buy a smaller screen. They can choose not to have such a secular event in a sacred space, and forgo the tithe that members who are mostly interested in secular events might bring. They can, like most churches, have such secular events outside of the sacred space.

    Your perspective is just a little bit skewed. Giving to the church is entirely up to the person. So is going to that particular church. The Bible commands us to give 10% of our produce to the church so the leaders don't have to have a 40 hour job + 30 hour job coming up with a 30 minute speech every week. Now whether or not the people give to the church is entirely up to them and their conscience and God. It's close minded to think "because Scientology extorts money from its members, then all religions do". If you looked at the average salary of a youth pastor, pastor, etc; you'll find it's simply nowhere near enough to attract those in it for the money. There's a few pastors here and there that make a larger portion of money (such as Presbyterian pasters :), and there are the televangelists who say "give ME [specifically ME] money and God will give you more money", but they are nowhere near the majority.

    Believe it or not, there are people in the world who have motives other than making the most money possible--such as making money by helping others in the best way they know how. I don't know why people have to ascribe negative motives to people who say they just want to help others. Not everyone else is like you. Just because you don't want to help people doesn't mean there aren't other people who do want to help people in the same way they have found help.
  • by dosius ( 230542 ) <> on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:39PM (#22278292) Journal
    It's on free-to-air TV. It shouldn't matter who's watching. Got a TV? Got an aerial? That's all you really need. It's not copying, no copy's being made, so what the hell does copyright have to do with anything? It would be a breach of copyright if someone was mastering videos during the game to hand out to the people in attendance...otherwise, they're just thumping their chests like the 900 lb. gorillas they are.

  • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @10:00PM (#22278456) Journal
    The telecast is licensed for "private home viewing" that means no public display, no church, no sports bars no Dr. offices waiting room np public display. Hell playing the radio in a Dr's office is technically infringing! I know you can get commercial licenses and I supposed that big places like Hooter's actually has one, but you'd think that they would kind of just ignore houses of worship having a superbowl party.
  • Exactly how... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @10:08PM (#22278524)
    are "advertising revenues affected?"

    Multiple parishiners watch the game together at the church, when an ad occurs, anyone can watch or not watch the ads, as they desire.
    The same set of people watch the game individually at home, when an ad appears, anyone can watch or not watch the ads, as they desire.

    The game is being broadcast on the public airwaves. The NFL loses nothing when a group of people watch it together, regardless of where they are. If they don't want the general public to see the game, they should change to cable pay-per-view, and stop milking a public resource for profit.

    It's time for a not-so-gentle reminder that contrary to the pontifications of "real" lawyers, growing your own crops is not Interstate Commerce, forcefully transferring land from one private party to another is not "public use," and preventing people from watching the Superbowl together at their church does not "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts."
  • Re:The end result? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Skim123 ( 3322 ) <> on Saturday February 02, 2008 @10:10PM (#22278540) Homepage

    I'd call the NFL's bluff. Jesus was a pretty rebellious and rock the boat sort of guy. He didn't back down from the Roman's or Pharisees, he told people how it was, associated with unwed women and whores, and scared those in power.

    And got crucified for it.

    I have a feeling Roger Goodell is no Pontius Pilot.

  • by morcego ( 260031 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @10:11PM (#22278548)
    There is probably some study that people are more likely to watch the ads (commercials?) if they are alone or in small groups.

    The is the only reason I can think of for the NFL to try this kind of maneuver, since Super Ball is all about advertising.
  • by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @10:28PM (#22278662) Journal
    the championship of the sport we crazy Americans call football. You can tell it from the football of the rest of the world because in the US, the big hits, bloody noses, and violence is on the field, not in the stands...
  • by SETIGuy ( 33768 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @10:33PM (#22278690) Homepage

    This attitude that churches should not have to play by the same rules as everyone else drives me up the wall.
    Can we get rid of their tax exemption while we're at it? Or does this 52" TV have some demonstrable charitable purpose?
  • by CopaceticOpus ( 965603 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @10:43PM (#22278748)
    It's all about those Neilsen boxes. If one person with a box goes to watch the game at church rather than at home, that shows up in the statistics as thousands of people not watching.

    What I want to know is is the NFL has any legal basis for the ban, or if they're just intimidating folks.
  • by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @11:12PM (#22278944) Journal
    So can they be sued for false advertising if they have a commercial that shows more than four people watching football together? If it is illegal to "use their product" in that way, are beer commercials that show large numbers of people over at a person's house enjoying the game together promoting copyright violation?
  • by loraksus ( 171574 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @11:34PM (#22279110) Homepage
    I'd like to see this license I supposedly agreed to when I turned the TV on.

    What's that? Silence?
  • by Gadget_Guy ( 627405 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @12:31AM (#22279482)

    Cricket? Are you serious? Where outside of the Commonwealth is this game played?

    It is played in 101 countries []. At least, that is the number of countries that play by the ICC rules. There may be more who play their own variations.

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @12:32AM (#22279486)
    I think you mean, uplifting spirits.
  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @02:29AM (#22280054)
    <flame type="offtopic">
    Let me first say this as clearly as possible. I do not support Bush in any way shape or form.

    Corrupt Republicans? You must be about 17, maybe 18? The proper statement would be corrupt politicians. There is no political party that isnt corrupt, just ones in power and ones that aren't. The ones in power get called corrupt by the ones who aren't ... when the balance of power shifts, so does the blame.

    That said,


    CONGRESS decides if a bill will become law. The president can ONLY prevent them by veto, in which case congress can STILL get them passed/changed if its important/profitable enough.

    Stop being so retarded and looking at the president as the guy who matters and start paying attention to your congress men/women. THEY are the ones who make the laws. THEY can control the president more so than he can control them. Congress has the power to stop the war in Iraq for instance, but they don't REALLY want to, they just want to LOOK like they do so you don't replace them with somebody who will.

    They are the ones who CAN put them into effect.

    You want to bitch about a republican congress, fine. You should probably go back over the last 8 years and take a close look at how many democrats voted right along the same direction as the republicans as well. I'm not saying one is better than the other, I'm simply saying you act like one politician is different from another. Most of the ones that voted against the majority only do it because they know its a safe pass/fail anyway and it makes them look better to their voters.

    And learn how your goverment works for fucks sake, also stop being such a twit that you think politicians are different because of the political party they claim.
  • by Baricom ( 763970 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @02:30AM (#22280056)

    how can they claim a church, receiving/viewing the broadcast, is "copying," and therefore in violation of copyright?
    They're not. The NFL is claiming that a church displaying the broadcast to a large number of people is publicly performing the broadcast, which is another protected right under copyright law (17 USC 106(5) []).

    isn't such viewing (at least non-commercially) "fair use?"
    Whether a profit is made on a copyrighted work is only one of four factors [] generally accepted by courts as constituting fair use.

    BTW, you totally missed/ignored the original point - a sports broadcast is functional, not creative.
    Have you ever directed a live television show? I have. It's a process that requires a surprising amount of creativity.

    Camera people are picking who to cover, how wide or tight to make a shot, whether they're going to pan with somebody or let them walk off the edge of the screen. Audio engineers are listening to everybody's microphone and determining the pitch of a person, how loudly you hear laughter or applause, and more. One of the most overlooked jobs in television is the engineer, who is constantly adjusting a camera's brightness and color to properly convey the tone of the moment while staying within broadcast standards.

    Meanwhile, the director is watching a large number of cameras simultaneously. In my case, I've directed as many as five cameras, which is a rather large number and more than most local news broadcasts. In contrast, tomorrow's Super Bowl game is going to use around 30 cameras [], and the director is watching all of them and deciding which one you'll see with split-second accuracy. Add to that graphics, the choice of which angle to use for instant replays, and more, and it's impossible to contend that sports broadcasts are not a creative medium.

    I'll be the first to admit that copyright law is broken as it stands now - and the NFL is notorious for stretching things beyond what copyright law gives them license to do - but it needs to be fixed, not eliminated. However, I think the NFL is in the right legally in this instance (though they're probably not doing any favors to how fans perceive them). If there was no protections for public performance, nothing could stop another network from taking Fox's feed and simulcasting it with their own commercials.
  • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jardine ( 398197 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @03:27AM (#22280264) Homepage
    I can't show movies to raise money for my non-profit (even if a donation is not required for viewing) unless I pay the copyright holders a fee. I don't see why a church should have a different set of rules.

    The movie you were showing was going to come off of a DVD though. If you got a group together in a room and turned on the TV to Channel 10's Sunday afternoon showing of Sister Act with Ultramatic commercials every 10 minutes, why should that matter? It's being broadcast over the public airwaves and intended for viewing by the public. As far as I can see, the only people who lose out on anything are the TV manufacturers. And they only lose out on sales to the small subset of people who would have bought a large TV to watch the Super Bowl on, but decided not to because the church had one to watch it on. And I suspect that that is a very small group of people.
  • Naismith was indeed Canadian, but the game of basketball was invented in a Massachusetts YMCA. And, nobody really thinks of basketball as a Canadian sport (unlike ice hockey, which probably was invented in Canada and maintains a large Canadian fanbase).
  • by Bill Dog ( 726542 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @04:04AM (#22280444) Journal
    As a believer in God, symbolically it's "He", and you're right, a football game is just not high in Cosmic Importance. As my dad (an atheist) always asks, "How come they never bring up God when something *doesn't* go their way?"
  • by Bill Dog ( 726542 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @04:18AM (#22280504) Journal
    When you know the commercials are going to be promoting vices, why not replace them with messages promoting virtues? To substitute the Slashdot religion, so that everyone here will understand, if there was an annual event on TV that millions of people watched and where all the ads were for M$ products, wouldn't you want to assemble groups to show the program to but substitute what was according to your religion more positive choices?
  • by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @04:37AM (#22280592) Journal
    A team that DOESN'T thank God? Awesome! Gotta cheer them!

    God doesn't give a fuck about your petty sports. He's far too busy starving little children to death in Africa to notice you throwing a ball around.
  • by GrayNimic ( 1051532 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @05:09AM (#22280684)

    In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include--
    1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
    2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
    3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
    4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
    Recall that this whole Superbowl brouhaha started when drafthouse movie theaters tried to show it for "free". Non-profits such as churches are in a different category, and should fall under fair use.
    I think points 3 and 4 are rather relevant here (they're using virtually the whole work, possibly without the Half-Time show but otherwise complete), and the impact on the market is also their concern (big gathering takes the place of many small gatherings, which potentially impacts ratings, as others have mentioned).

    Also in clause 1, you highlight the phrase, but while the churches are "nonprofit" it doesn't seem like this would qualify as "educational purpose" (at least that's not what the football is for - it's just to get people in the door). It seems more like a nonprofit advertising or a not-for-profit commercial-style use, since it is essentially being used to promote the value of and awareness of the services rendered by the nonprofit organization.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't think the law here is /right/ nor do I like what the NFL is doing, but from my IANAL view the NFL does seem to be acting entirely within its legal rights.
  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @11:48AM (#22282342) Journal
    The interesting part is that my turning on the TV as no bearing on what comes on the screen. It's the broadcaster who is sending the pictures out. If the broadcaster doesn't send the information to me, I get snow. It's a push-only format, and as such any license should be between the content creator and the broadcaster.

    All of this is moot, as there is no license involved but rather laws. There's no EULA with my kitchen knife set that forbids me from using it to carve up school children, or my wife, but I can get into a lot of trouble if I do so.
  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @05:17PM (#22284972) Homepage Journal
    "Or they can serve beer.. then they can get in under the sports bar exemption."

    Well, that only works if it is a catholic church....


  • by dwye ( 1127395 ) on Monday February 04, 2008 @01:21PM (#22293512)

    It is strange, this one event is more popular for its commercials than for the actual game.

    For a very rarified group. My sister was "in The Business" (as she pronounces it)(film/ad business, that is), yet never notes the commercials. Neither does anyone else that I have met in person. All of them view it as either (1) a potentially interesting game (2) a good excuse for a party, like Cinco De Mayo is an excuse for tequilla, or (3) MUST SEE TV, as OUR TEAM is playing. Having grown up in the Pittsburgh, PA area during the Steelers Dynasty of the 1970s, I can understand this, even if I might not feel it (except two years ago, when WE WON!!!!! :-).

    I would point out that broadcast TV is payed for by ad agencies bying airtime for their clients, so NOT making a big deal about the commercials on the Today Show, or the like, would be biting the hand that feeds them, and thus not done.

If I set here and stare at nothing long enough, people might think I'm an engineer working on something. -- S.R. McElroy