Yesterday the NFL informed a few churches that they are not allowed to have any Superbowl parties that use the word Superbowl in the name as well as being shown on a screen larger than 55 inches. The NFL says they are simply enforcing their copyright, so in response many Churches are canceling their parties. First Christian Church of Fort Myers is one of these Churches. First Christian Church has canceled their party because to disobey the law knowingly is not something anyone should do. So I don’t disagree with FCC’s decision. But I am now wondering if the NFL will end up changing their copyright rules. There are advertisers shelling out huge dollars for a commercial spot during the Superbowl. The most expensive advertisement slot in North America any given year. So will the advertisers that are paying all this money be pleased that hundreds of thousands of people may not see their commercials because huge parties have been shut down by the NFL? I think the NFL will have enormous pressure to change. Money talks in this culture, and there is a lot of money involved in this. I think if the NFL does not recant within the next 24 hours they will by next year. These huge parties are good business for the NFL, not a hindrance. The NFL grants Sports Bars an exception, which allows them to show the game to the public. They can make a similar exception for non-profits to do the same.

So in summary, I understand the NFL is simply enforcing their copyright. They have every legal right to do so. But I think in this case it is distasteful and will not benefit the NFL. And for me, I may just not watch the Superbowl this year since the party I was going to has been canceled and I have no desire to watch the Big Game in a Sports Bar.

Update:

It seems the NFL is giving a bit on their copyright rules.

Here is an excerpt from World Net Daily:

A written statement given to World Net Daily by the NFL late today made no mention of many of those restrictions. It was attributed only to “an NFL spokesman.”

“The National Football League has absolutely no objection to churches and others hosting Super Bowl viewing parties as long as they do not charge admission and show the game on a television of the type commonly used at home.

“We are simply following copyright law and have done so with regard to any type of commercial establishment including hotels, theatres, museums, schools, arenas and others.

“This is nothing new. It is a matter of longstanding policy and the law.

“We have no rules that relate to viewing at home on any type of television.”

So the only question I have now is. “Is it legal for a Church to project the game onto a wall?” Is projection considered a television by the NFL or is projection still not allowed? Maybe we will see more clarification early tomorrow morning.

Sources:

World Net Daily

Bell State Daily News

StarTribune