I understand the importance of copyright protection. I have written two books and I would not want my hard work to be pirated for someone else’s personal gain. Especially since I have gotten little personal gain from them myself. I get the reasoning for copyright laws. But what is happening with the famous professional football league and their game that cannot be mentioned by mortals is ridiculous. This week the 500 pound gorilla landed on a Baptist church in Indianapolis. Here is the story from the Indianapolis Star.
“The NFL is telling Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis that the church’s plans to use a wall projector to show the game at a party for church members and guests would violate copyright laws. NFL officials spotted a promotion of Fall Creek’s “Super Bowl Bash” on the church Web site last week and sent pastor John D. Newland a letter — via FedEx overnight — demanding the party be canceled.
Initially, the league objected to the church’s plan to charge party-goers a fee to attend and that the church used the license-protected words “Super Bowl” in its promotions. Newland told the NFL his church would not charge party goers — the fee had been intended only to pay for snacks — and that it would drop the use of the forbidden words. But the NFL wouldn’t bite. It objected to the church’s plans to use a projector to show the game on what effectively was a 12-foot-wide screen. It said the law limits the church to one TV no bigger than 55 inches. The league even took exception to the church’s plan to influence nonmembers with a video highlighting the Christian testimonies of Colts coach Tony Dungy and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith. “While this may be a noble message,” NFL assistant counsel Rachel L. Margolies wrote in a follow-up e-mail, “we are consistent in refusing the use of our game broadcasts in connection with events that promote a message, no matter the content.”
If only John Facinda were alive today. The legendary voice of the once interesting professional football league could voice over the latest heroic feats of these brave men known as copyright lawyers.
Across the frozen tundra these magnificent lawyers strode. Armed with subpoenas and restraining orders they vanquished every foe. Woe to he who goes against the charge of the on-coming barristers…beware the drive block, the forearm shiver…it’s one ton of corporate muscle with a one track mind.
When did we lose the ability to reason? Common sense has been in hospice care for some time and actions like this could deal the once vibrant concept the final death blow. I hardly think this church gathering is a threat to the famous professional football league. I applaud the Fall Creek Baptist Church for immediately and gracefully complying with the “demands” of the no fun league. They have been great examples of the counsel from 1 Peter.
For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right….
Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king. NLT
Or in this case, respect the commissioner. The church dropped the snack fee and the use of the name of the over-hyped game. The no fun league’s zealous protection of the name of the over-hyped game is the ultimate irony. Lamar Hunt came up with the name for the over hyped game while watching his daughter, Sharron, play with the 1960s “Super Ball” toy. It is fortunate for the no fun league that the Wham-O Toy lawyers didn’t come bouncing into their offices in the late ‘60’s. So this sacred name was co-opted from a popular toy at the time, the Wham-O Super Ball. A potential party idea is to go buy a bag of Super Balls and bounce them this Sunday instead of watching the game of the nearly same name. I doubt that Wham-O will bother you if you promote a “Super Ball” party.
Back to our news story from Indianapolis. This is stunning rationalization even by corporate standards.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league’s longstanding policy is to ban “mass out-of-home viewing” of the Super Bowl. A major exception to the rule is made, however, for sports bars and other businesses that show televised sports as a part of their everyday operations. “We have contracts with our (TV) networks to provide free over-the-air television for people at home,” Aiello said. “The network economics are based on television ratings and at-home viewing. Out-of-home viewing is not measured by Nielsen.”
Nice try. The ad rates for the over-hyped game this year is 2.7 million dollars for a 30 second spot. Think what it will be next year now that we have curtailed the Baptists!
But the flatlining of common sense and the final straw for the Fall Creek Baptists was the threat of the potentially “noble” message. If you go to a church there is always a possibility (exempting some seeker sensitive churches) that there might be a “message”. Churches have been doing that “message” thing for years while inviting people to Christmas plays, movies, and other events. The republic has survived. Apparently the legalistic congregants of the church I grew up in migrated to professional football. The league has issued stone tablets with the party commandments. Here is the law from the Book of Nofunicus.
For groups that want to host Super Bowl parties — other than sports bars and businesses that normally show televised sports — here are rules that must be followed:
• No admission fees (even to pay for snacks).
• Only one television (55 inches or smaller).
• No use of the words “Super Bowl” in promotional materials.
• No exhibition of the game in connection with events “that promote a message.” Source: NFL
Pastor John Newland has given up on his subversive plan to provide family entertainment and a possible “message”.
“It just frustrates me that most of the places where crowds are going to gather to watch this game are going to be places that are filled with alcohol and other things that are inappropriate for children,” Newland said. “We tried to provide an alternative to that and were shut down.”
Pastor, if it makes you feel any better I had to cancel my party for a game named after a Wham-O bouncing ball. My TV is 56 inches wide (I am sure the league attorneys carry a tape measure) and I had a message I wanted to promote to the no fun league.
Your game no longer interests me.
This just in…Friday evening the NFL announced that all of this was a big “misunderstanding“. A new statement from the NFL had no problem with the church gatherings as long as admission is not charged. No mention of screen size or message in this communique. Hmmm. Oh well…I give the NFL Public Relations machine credit for quick damage control.