I have to admit that I don't normally click on the pages of the Wall Street Journal for my sports news so I'm certainly not logging into the Journal's site for play-by-play commentary during a live NFL game on Sunday. But a recent live-blog entry on the Journal's Daily Fix sports blog was definitely an attention-getter. (Thanks to TechDirt for the link.)
Last week, WSJ blogger Peter Sanders plopped down on his living room sofa in Los Angeles and provided readers with a play-by-play recap and live blog commentary of last week's matchup between the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets. I hope that couch is a comfy way of watching the game because, if the NFL stands by its policy of forbidding live coverage of its games via blogs or Twitter, then Sanders could find himself banned from the press boxes of future games.
Last month, before the regular season kicked off, the NFL issued a reminder that its longstanding policies that prohibit play-by-play descriptions of NFL games in progress applies to Internet sites (blogs) and social media tools (read Twitter, Facebook), as well.
It's almost laughable if the NFL wasn't so serious about it. The NFL is trying so hard to maintain control of that wall around the league and keep the influences out, that it's forgotten what's happened to other industries that have tried to stifle technology - newspapers, music, movies and so on. That's not to say that tweets or live blogs will do to the NFL what the Internet has done to newspapers - but the NFL has to realize that it's old business models can't - and won't - survive long in a social media, bloggy type of world.
No word yet on whether the NFL is taking any action against Sanders or the WSJ. But for what it's worth, I noticed that the blog didn't have any live NFL blog posts this past weekend. Maybe the NFL's lawyers already got to the Journal's top executives about this matter.
Regardless, today's props go to the WSJ for challenging the NFL's ridiculous rule by simply defying it.