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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

YouTube cricket coverage banned

The ICC has moved to ban YouTube coverage (almost all of it apparently short clips of highlights) of World Cup matches

Peter Black at Freedom To Differ and Andrew Miller at Cricinfo have excellent pieces about the decision.

Here's an extract from Miller's "Once more cricket shoots itself in the foot":

A game run increasingly by lawyers for lawyers, has deemed it necessary to go to war on the very online enthusiasts who can spread the word of a game whose reputation has been dragged through the mincer.

It is an astoundingly short-sighted decision by a ruling body that has once again shown it is completely lacking in a sense of priorities. God knows that cricket could do with some good publicity at present. Only 24 hours ago, the ICC's Lawyer-in-Chief, Malcolm Speed, was telling Cricinfo how wonderful the match between Australia and South Africa at St Kitts was turning out to be. "Let's all just watch the cricket," he suggested when queried about the latest murmurings about Bob Woolmer's death. Mal, we'd love to. But 75% of your global audience have no means of tuning in.

Maybe I'm wrong to quibble. Maybe this tournament really is the "ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007", as those interminable press releases implore us to call it, and we should feel privileged to be allowed access through the officially sanctioned channels. But it's not as if YouTube is about to start tapping into the rights-holders' feed and start leeching live streaming free-of-charge. That's not what it's about at all. The snippets that go up on that site are nothing more than snippets - short, sharp tempters that have the power to entice an untapped audience.

Strong words, yes, and justified. Will the ICC, or even some national bodies (including Cricket Australia) heed them? I doubt.


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