You Too Can Be On ESPN. But Why?

In browsing around ESPN.com I was attracted to a banner on the right sidebar of the site promoting the “Sports Center Home Video”.

By clicking the ad you are brought to a page that asks people to submit their home video of local sporting events to be considered for inclusion on Sports Center.

Aside from the fact that there is a need to update the information on the page (it still mentions that submissions have to be from “calendar year 2006″) I was perplexed as to ESPN’s intent in obtaining home video of local sporting events.

Other than the occasional appearance on “Top 10 Plays” I doubt ESPN will be rebroadcasting highlights from the big North High vs. South High Thanksgiving Holiday football game anytime soon.

Or will they?  I know ESPNU has expanded its programming to include high school coverage.  But these telecasts are produced by the network so there would be no need for amateur video.

Even if ESPN were to use these pieces of home video, they want complete control over it.  Take a look at the “Home Videotape Release and Grant of Rights” that each owner must accompany the video before it is aired.  Even though the language in the release is standard fare, some of it is rather amusing and lends fuel to the argument that ESPN likes to push its weight around.

The best line comes at the very beginning where the release states “In consideration of the time and resources ESPN, Inc. expends in evaluating the videotape…” I’m sure the intern that has to review all these tapes saps so much of ESPN’s valauble resources that the Worldwide Leader should have the right to hold your intellectual property hostage for “the right to use and distribute the Videotape or any portion or element contained therein in all means and media, whether now known or hereafter devised, throughout the universe in perpetuity for any purpose whatsoever.”

I look forward to the day when I’m on a business trip to Mars and can view the half-court, behind the back shot by Johnny Sanders to win the game for Westview Middle School on ESPN Cosmic.  Just thinking about it makes my blood rush.

Seriously, my point is that although it may be neat to have your footage on Sports Center,  do you really want to give up your rights to ESPN to say how the footage is used?  You would probably be better served by posting the footage on You Tube.  You wouldn’t get the splash that ESPN could give you, but you would ratain control of the “videotape throughout the universe in perpetuity for any purpose whatsoever.”

Sounds like the right move to me.

Site News: I will be away on business next week so there may not be a post.  I will try my best to put one together, but if I don’t you know why. OK?

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