I am sure a few of you may have noticed things have been amiss here. And a few of you have been privy to the details. As for the rest of you? Well I got the smack down of sorts. Apparently my cute little blog doesn’t sit well a certain hockey organization. There were some complaints.
My banner; which contained images I didn’t own. The banner which had been up since June, became an issue. Fine whatever. It needed to be changed. Oh and the Tokarski Saves shirts weren’t kosher. Apparently the hockey organization OWNS the players names. I was just a bit irked. No team names, logos or fonts were used and still the tshirts had to go. Alright fine… I guess? And then one of the commenters made a lovely picture of TC Cratsenberg fighting and I relinked it in a post. And I didn’t own that either. Well, I did some digging and under fair use and talking to the Pensblog, there was no reason for that picture to come down. And the picture was originally taken by Gary Peterson. So for that? The kid stays in the picture.
According to CHL rules they own the entire universe essentially. I really started to lose my cool when I was told my personal pictures I had taken of the Chiefs were not allowed to be posted.
We classify photographers at our games in two different groups; fans who are taking pictures for their own personal use and enjoyment and then those who are going to redistribute and republish photos. Your website falls under the second description. The league requires everyone from the booster club to The Spokesman-Review to fill out an application and they’re very protective of how their product (the players images, logos, etc.) is portrayed.
You are kidding me, right? Essentially, they want to control free speech. Now, they would argue otherwise, of course. They would word it differently. But let’s face it, it is what it is. Several emails went back and forth (I’d post the entire thread but it’s lengthy) I was informed I need to get a press and photo pass but due to my site content, the odds were I would not be granted one. I am also frustrated the issue kept shifting and changing. If it wasn’t one thing it was the next. I was really starting to feel beat down and a bit targeted. Believe it or not, I put a good amount of thought into this madness, it’s not some off the cuff thing. Remember my motto of striving to suck less? No really, I always try to suck less. And all this was just a kick in the ribs since it was a few days after my blogaversary.
Clearly, someone doesn’t know how the internet works. See there are these things called blogs and people write in them. Now, some of you might be thinking, “Well what is the issue? Get the press and photo pass.” Because I shouldn’t have to. It’s a blog. I have never claimed to be part of the hockey organization. If anything, I have made it very clear I am in no way attached to or represent the Chiefs. Or you could say, “do you really need pictures?” Absolutely. We are visual beings. I can tell you what a beast Jared Cowen looks like compared to other players, but it doesn’t really mean much until you see a picture of Cow Cow dominating an opponent. Plus their passes allow them to essentially own me. Not in the selling out to the Man sense, but seriously they could potentially interject in my writings. And what would my punishment be to something that wasn’t in line with their system? The passes yanked of course…
And what about these passes? Would I be in theory on par with real, actual journalists? Would I be given the same access? Would be able to sit there and listen to a coach rattle off some cliche ridden response to why the team won or lost? I don’t want that. First of all, if you read this page you might notice the extreme lack of technical jargon because it’s dull, dry and you read one game summary and you have read them all. Second, part of the uh beauty, yeah beauty of this thing is my utter lack of access. I write about fake boyfriends and who can grow a better playoff beard. For some, this is an enjoyable take on a hockey team. As for the others, if it’s not their flavor they can hit the newspapers and I am not the least bit put off. Bonus: the newspaper isn’t as salty mouthed as I am.
Buzz Bissinger presented the case the bloggers are the scourge of the earth, I am paraphrasing. However a good lot of the bloggers take their writing semi to very seriously. His complaint was essentially that a person can write anything and it will be read by many. Yes, this is true. But you have to work to have an audience. And I truly believe perhaps naively, that unless a blog has a greater redeeming value it will not survive. I like to think my redeeming value is a view of a WHL team outside of the norm. I see the vibrant personality in a team I adore. I am fairly certain I said in a few posts back, this my version of a love letter to the Chiefs. Perhaps you might be able to imagine the shock and hurt when more or less I was told that we should just be friends.
What am I going to do? Keep being myself babycakes. I urge all my blogging friendlets to take a half hour or so and make yourself familiar with the fair use copyright laws. You aren’t going to learn it in school, educate yourself. Know what your rights are. I know, that is completely dorky and weighty to say but just know how far you can push things before you get served with papers or avoid the stern talking to that maybe occurs before being served like I had. I am not necessarily advocating flirting with disaster all the time. Then bloggers will be knocked down to plebeian status, instead of whatever rank is above the plebs. I was extremely fortunate to know some lawyers who also happen to have hockey blogs on the side. They were incredibly kind and patient with my picking their brains and sending many emails.
I highly doubt this will reach the fervor of the Covered in Oil debacle.
Later I will post the CHL rules I was sent, since the numbers of those writing about the O, the W and the Q is climbing and being aware in case someone from your local hockey team tosses an email at you, there is some element of preparedness.
Oh and if possible, can you people link this up and down the block? Thanks.
[Update; I realize due to some terrible wording there could be slight confusion. I was not served papers. I was talked to by two members of the organizations PR department. However, I bet legal papers weren't too far off if I hadn't complied with a few of their requests. Does the fact I wasn't contacted by a team or league lawyer make it better or worse? Well, I really don't know.]