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Major League Baseball Restricts Video Use

3 Mar, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel



With opening day a month away and dissemination of copyrighted video content on the Internet showing no signs of abetting, Major League Baseball issued updated restrictions on the use of game footage by licensed third-party sites and news organizations.

News outlets are allowed no more than two minutes of video or audio from MLB facilities, including ballparks. The limit does not apply to formal press conferences. No more than seven photos from any game can be displayed on the site.

All video content must be removed from the site after 72 hours.

The updated agreement mirrors similar guidelines established by the National Football League, which limits video footage to 45 seconds, cannot include game highlights and must be removed after 24 hours.

The new restrictions appear to be baseball's attempt to centralize video distribution to MLB.com and affiliated sites, which could result in reduced distribution and lower ad-revenue, according to Screen Digest, a London-based research firm.

The company said the move is counter to other sports, including English Premier League, which allows licensed affiliates to distribute soccer video across multiple sites for improved usage rates.

“MLB is likely to see an increase in traffic to [affiliated] sites in the short term,” said Screen Digest in a report. “However, it remains to be seen if sport video in general will act as a driver to a centralized site in the longer term or if syndication will emerge as a more effective approach in maximizing revenues for game highlights.”

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