As some of you may know, Major League Baseball earlier this year tried to restrict the rights of what newspapers could put on their web sites. Their original plans were to severely limit the use of photographs and limit audio or video to 120 seconds. The conditions were going to be tied to the awarding of credentials to cover games.
Their plans were designed to increase the value of MLB.com.
A group of newspaper editors, including my boss, fought these restrictions and a compromise was struck.
There will be no limit on photographs or on the audio of press conferences (such as the manager’s pre-game or post-game sessions). That is good news for those of you who enjoy the clips that we post here.
Other interviews will be limited to two minutes, which isn’t a major problem. We will have to take the audio off our sites within 72 hours, which doesn’t strike me as an issue for too many readers.
With permission from an individual team, longer audio interviews (such as our reader Q&A sessions) would be allowed.
Obviously, I don’t believe there should be any restrictions on the media. The more information we can give to fans, the better. But the new frontier of the internet has created revenue streams that leagues, teams and newspapers are all trying to tap into.
MLB.com is one of baseball’s most valuable properties. But for discerning fans who want balanced coverage of their team, newspapers need to be allowed to do their jobs both in print and on line.
Hopefully this compromise will work for everybody.