Should the Premier League ban GIFS?

If you couldn’t find something before the  internet you visited the library. If you can’t find something during the social media age you give up. The world is supposedly at your fingertips. That statement couldn’t be further from the truth. When you’re unable to watch multimedia content; featuring your favorite football club the world feels small. If a recent GIF crawler trend grows, the content will be gone for good.

Sky Sports appears to be extremely popular internationally. In the states the channel is impossible to access. *By normal means*. It’s absence leaves thousands of American Premier League fans in the dark. Some Premier League fans have posted content on Vine. The reuse of the Sky Sports/ Premier League content is good and bad. It gives the sport and channel exposure. The increased popularity helps both parties grow in the states. When content is illegally reused the original uploaded loses money. Sky Sports could potentially lose millions of dollars from the GIF.

Locating Premier League content can be difficult for American fans. Many of the distributors are, only regional. These restrictions alienate none local fans. It’s extremely difficult if not impossible to access the live content in the states. Archived content is insufficient during matches.That’s where historically GIFS have come in. According to an article, Sky Sports feels threatened by the GIFS. The company has gone as far as creating crawlers capable of destroying the GIFS.

Many major multimedia companies are struggling to win the copyright battle. They no longer have to only worry about newspaper content. The internet is overflowing with sports content. Many of the major blog networks have been stealing photos for years. Their exclusiveness sparked the need for a new tactic. Companies gained the ability to track the culprits during the copyright war. Their robots are capable of finding users who break the law.

The reuse of multimedia content became a major debate after the rise of social media. A major participant in the debate is sports blogging. Reusing the multimedia content is often illegal. The good news is the leagues have increased the amount of accessible content; In order to profit and protect it.  This decision is good news for fans and bad news for bloggers. When video becomes controlled it’s a lose, lose situation.

Many of the greedy multimedia companies and sports leagues  have struggled, to win the copyright war. They’ve responded to the loss by attacking vine users. If other major companies follow the lead, the site could lose millions. But even worse; eliminating vines would significantly reduce the sport’s popularity in the states. Now that would be an ugly PR  disaster.

One could make a logical argument that they should be allowed to, record their TV and uploaded the content. To a degree that statement is true. Twitch users legally stream content. YouTube users do the same, but occasionally get in trouble. So why is Vine any different. The social media site is patrolled by GIF crawlers. Crawlers with the same objective as the photo bots.

The Premier League desperately needs an American audience. If they didn’t they wouldn’t play in the states. Traveling across the pond isn’t cheap or easy. The live exposure is important but, it’s not necessary. Why would you alienate a vital customer base ? Surely the Premier league is smarter than that.

Samuel Goldman covers Soccer for various blogs including his own, you can follow him on Twitter @Goldman_Samuel.”