Before I start here is a link to a Wikipedia article explaining what a Cease and Desist letter is.
If you follow me on Twitter (@ollieparsley) then you will have found out last night (2nd April) that I received a Cease and Desist notice from a company that looks after the Premier League and Football Leagues copyright online. Of course I checked that the company was legitimate and I am unhappy to say that they are legitimate.
This essentially comes from the Football DataCo (that is owned by the Premier League and Football League) via a company that looks after their online copyright. You can read an enlightening wikipedia article about previous contraversies. This one too from a few years ago regarding a Watfor Fanzine site.
What did it say?
The email I first received said FootyTweets was “using the UK Club Crests and League logos without permission from the Clubs or the UK Leagues“. The e-mails that then went back and forth went on to add the fact that I need a licence to display fixtures (I looked on their site and it would be £52,000!). Further to this I was told I need another licence to display match updates. I currently get this from an outside source and then send them to Twitter.
It was also mentioned that a number of clubs (I asked 3 times in separate emails who they were and the question was avoided all 3 times) and they wanted their content removed. So if they won’t tell me who the clubs are I can’t remove their content!
What do I have to change?
- Remove all UK club logos
- Remove all UK league logos
- Stop match updates untill I buy a licence that will allow me to do 9 updates per match (ridiculous). But I can post all the match updates after the game is over. Don’t think thats very useful though.
- Remove the content of some football clubs, but they won’t say which!
What have I done so far?
- Removed the Premier League and Football League logos
- Removed the Football Leagues from the site untill I create some copyright free logos (Championship, League One and League Two)
- Replaced the Premier League logos with shirts that might look vaguely similar to some shirts worn in a top UK league (don’t want to get into trouble again!)
- Disabled match updates. BUT! I have an idea for crowd sourcing match updates for you (and me), the true fans.
What I haven’t done
- I am allowed to carry on with the news articles as normal
Why was I frustrated?
If you were reading my tweets last night you would have felt my frustration. I was so angry and frustrated I took the dog for a walk at 11:30pm. But why was I like this? Rather than bore you with paragraphs I will just list them.
- I make no money
- The ads on the site cover a tiny bit of other costs like hosting etc
- I am sending the clubs a lot of traffic. In some cases thousands a month
- I have a created a new way for them to engage their fans in a social network that they will probably not venture in to for years
- I still have 70 club logos to make.
- I have e-mail each club individually and ask permission to use their logo/crest.
- I am not insulting them at all, quite the opposite. I am increasing their reach.
- They won’t tell me the clubs that have complained. I want to know so I can talk to them about how there is not a downside to this for them.
- They have taken an “old media” stance on this. By which I mean sending these notes rather than embracing the face that they are getting publicity. Which I consider to be backwards and not helping promote themselves as a forward thinking company and are simply “reactive” instead of “proactive”.
Thanks to the fans
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the kind messages they have send. I have not had one single bad reply. Thanks so much I really really appreciate it.
I believe we can overcome this and together make an awesome FootyTweets service
I really believe that we can come together and make our own match updates and news feeds using the power of Twitter, ReTweeting, Hashtags and URL’s. I have some ideas that I will run past in a survey. Hopefully we can get match updates back up and better than before.
Please comment away below and I will try to respond promtly.
Update: I think that if we can come together and create a standard way of writing match updates then I, and others can integrate it into FootyTweets and other apps. What do you think?
For instance I could tweet “#goal Bent scored in the 90th minute #thfc 1 – 0 #mufc”. This would mean that Marcus Bent scored a goal for Tottenham Hotspur in the 90th minute and the current score is now 1-0.