Social media has become such a phenomenon that even the Premier League must now spend resources to police it. At the beginning of the current Premier League season, the organisers publicly stated that they plan to clamp down on the sharing of video footage from matches via social media.
Footage can only legally be shared by the official broadcasters, BT and Sky, with highlights available to subscribers of services with the Sun and the Times.
Social media users attending matches can easily record footage of the game on their smartphones. Micro video apps such as Vine and Instagram allow individuals to instantly record short videos and share them on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
Football fans watching from the sofa can rewind contentious moments in matches and record the footage using their device, and also upload them to social media. Clips showing incredible goals, questionable refereeing decisions and awful tackles have been shared thousands of times on social media in the past.
Of course, distributing content in this manner amounts to copyright infringement. The Premier League’s Director of Communications has spoken publicly about the organisation’s development of gif and Vine crawlers, which are designed to identify the footage in question, report it and eventually have it taken down. When sponsors are paying around £1 billion for the honour of broadcasting rights, it’s hardly surprising that it’s in the Premier League’s best interests to prevent the illegal sharing of match footage.
Above all, the Premier League’s move shows the power of social media. Real-time social media marketing can draw on the nation’s mood at that instant, bringing attention to a controversial goal or an amusing on-field incident. Even small companies can succeed in the social media marketing sphere – all it takes is good timing, creativity, and an understanding of basic copyright laws!
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