Church Super Bowl parties illegal?

Discussion in '2008 Archive' started by Alcott, Feb 7, 2007.

  1. Alcott

    Alcott
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    The NFL says they are if the game is shown on anything besides one screen of no more than 55 inches, and if the 'Super Bowl trademark' is infringed, as by publishing that name as something like "Super Bowl Bash" on a church website. Several churches in the Indianapolis area, including Tony Dungy's church, scrapped plans for such parties after the NFL made copyright infringment threats against one church.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/6436876

    Businesses like sports bars are allowed to show the game on big screens because an exception is made for establishments in which sports viewing is a 'significant' part of their business.

    This is interesting. Coaches Dungy and Smith can get up before stadium and media microphones on an NFL broadcast and talk about their faith, but in the organizations to promote that faith it is forbidden to show such a speech to more than a relatively few people. And the NFL allows its telecasts on any size screen in a for-profit business where people get wilder and more rude, possibly violent, as the game goes on, but they do not allow it in a setting where that is far less likely to happen.

    On one hand, some will say this may be justice because churches which arranged big SB parties were going 'worldly' anyway, so they should face any worldly consequences. Others, who considered the SB an 'opportunity' for a gathering which includes a message and offers of fellowship and guidance, may be inclined to see this as an infringment not of copyright, but of ministry and a church's own business, which is no less protected.

    What are some of our views on this topic?
     
  2. tinytim

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    My thoughts are Money is NFL's God.
    And Sports are the new God of the USA!

    All sports are driven by money.

    More money is spent on sports than on missions by Christians!
    How many times have you heard the excuse that a family can't attend a church function because their kids have a practice of game...
    They are telling their children by their actions which God they serve... SPORTS!

    Now having said that, I have been to SB parties in the past that were a great evangelistic opportunity. One High school gave permission for a faith based group to host the SB on a 32 FOOT screen in the gym. It was the year of the Janet Jackson controversy... and while the world saw the mishap, about 400 teens were listening to a sermon!

    Since the NFL is bias toward Christians, this is one Christian that has spent their last dime on anything connected with the NFL! I say take that next $20 that you were going to spend on the god of America, sports, and send it to your missionary...
     
  3. Alcott

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    Okay, but that's not the question here. Should churches not be free to use the media equipment they have to show an on-air broadcast, as long as there is no admission charged for viewing it, it's not recorded and given out, rebroadcasted, et al, in accordance with the statement given in every game "...any reporduction, rebroadcast, retransmission...without the express written consent.........." That statement does not say it can't be shown at a voluntary gathering, and certainly does not limit the size of the viewing screen.
     
  4. Rufus_1611

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    Outstanding post Tiny!
     
  5. Magnetic Poles

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    Alcott, you misunderstand how it works. Sports bars pay a higher price to be able to show the games at their venues than an individual does. If a church were to pay for a public performance license, they too could do the same thing. So Tim, it is not discrimination against Christians; the same rule applies to any organization or business who doesn't pay a commercial license fee.

    Every NFL game has a disclaimer about retransmission, public performance, etc. A sports bar pays to show the game.
     
    #5 Magnetic Poles, Feb 8, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2007
  6. Filmproducer

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    MP pretty much sums it up in his posts, but I wanted to add that there is a common misconception about the fair use of copyrighted materials. It doesn't matter that the church was not charging for the event and/or making copies of it, it is still infringement if permission is not given. In some cases large showings of copyrighted movies/programs substantially reduces the potential profit of a copyrighted work. If you look closely it is technically copyright infringement to show a movie in a classroom for entertainment purposes without first receiving permission. Although this is hardly, if ever, pursued.
     
  7. Martin

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    I really don't see how it matters. If people want to watch the Superbowl they should do so in their own homes (etc). If they want to have friends from church (etc) to watch it with then gather at someone's house. I don't see any reason for churches to promote the Superbowl. I certainly don't care what bars are allowed to do.
     
  8. Martin

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    Good point
     
  9. av1611jim

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    So......it is ok for everyone in a given church to gather in several homes and have seperate Sb parties but it is NOT ok for those same people to get together in their church auditorium to watch the game TOGETHER?

    There is no infringement here. These are the same people who watch the game whether they be at home or in church. How is it possible for "potential profit" to be lost? There is no charge for the game whether you are at home or at an auditorium at church. It is BROADCAST on the air waves. NOBODY pays for the game. Unless of course you are paying for it via cable tv. Even then though the "profit" argument doesn't hold water in my opinion.

    That being said: I strongly oppose any church doing this. My reason is based on Testimony. What does it say to the community at large about what is important to said church? Nothing glorifying to God I presume.
     
  10. tinytim

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    What about the bigger picture.. no pun intended.

    What if a church wanted to show something else on TV... like a Christmas special, Easter special or something like that.. does the church need to get a special license? Does the CVLI license cover this.. it covers movies, but does it cover TV programming?

    And the way the NFL loses money is in the ratings department.
    If a business allows 400 people to watch the show without reporting this to the rating industry then this messes with advertisers and their dollars.

    Is it possible to buy a license from the NFL, if other licenses don't apply?

    I still feel it is a slap in the face to churches... especially since there are supposed to be such good Christians in the NFL.
     
  11. guitarpreacher

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    We had planned a superbowl party, it had been in the works for about 3 months. We rented a meeting room at the local rec center, were going to show the super bowl and fellowship. We were going to turn off the tv at halftime (the only really safe thing to do) and go down to the pool and have a baptism. Had 6 people ready to be baptized. It was going to be an awesome evening. The whole thing was scrapped when the NFL made an issue of the mass showings. BTW - they have said it's okay to have the super bowl parties now as long as you don't charge admission. But it was late Friday or Saturday when they said that, too late to get the event cranked back up.

    The law is antiquated (sp?) in that, when this particular law was written, no one had a tv that was larger than 55" and no one had video projectors like we have now. The idea that a church could gather in a large room and using a $750 projector show the the super bowl larger than life size was not in anybody's wildest imagination. The law was to prevent people from profiting from someone else's work. In other words, you can't rent a theatre, charge admission, and show the super bowl and make a killing off the deal.

    I would be surprised if this law is not updated in the very near future. Technology passed it by a long, long time ago. But, until it is changed, it's still the law and integrity demands that you honor the NFL's wishes regarding their property.
     
  12. His Blood Spoke My Name

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    Football doesn't belong in the church. The church is to be a house of worship and prayer, not sports.

    I say take the sports out of the churches and turn toward that which pleases God... worship and prayer.
     
  13. guitarpreacher

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    What about us? We rented a room away from the church. Is that okay?
     
  14. His Blood Spoke My Name

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    Apparently not, gp... ya were'nt able to have that party.:wavey:
     
  15. Jack Matthews

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    When the NFL grants permission to the television network for public broadcast of any of its football games, it does not have the right to control how or where that game is broadcast, as long as the showing of it is the actual live telecast, no admission is charged, and no financial gain comes about as a result of it. A sports bar probably walks on the edge of that, since it would probably be more crowded, and serve drinks while the game is on television, but even that has loopholes in it that you can drive a truck through.

    The actual name of the event is property of the NFL, so to advertise your event as a "Super Bowl" event might be a violation of copyright laws, if you didn't get the NFL's permission to do so, though enforcing that would be next to impossible.

    The difficulties come in when the event is recorded, then played at a mass gathering. Then there are some conditions to meet over which the NFL does have control. Or when admission is charged to attend a mass gathering where the super bowl broadcast is shown. The NFL is entitled to all money generated by their product, which would include what people pay to get in to see it on a screen.

    Fellowship is one of the Biblical functions of the church, and I see nothing wrong with a church family getting together to watch the Super Bowl and fellowship together.
     
  16. Magnetic Poles

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    The size of the screen is a bit silly, and yes, even though it is technically a violation of copyright, a small group of friends should be able to get together and watch the game, even if it is at a church, IMO. Especially since it is being broadcast over the air. I do know that Dish Network and DirecTV charge bars a commercial license that compensates the programmer and the NFL.

    When does it stop being a private party and become a public performance? I don't know, but most organizations do aggressively protect their copyrights.
     
  17. Filmproducer

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    Which is really the point of it. A church showing the broadcast in a large facility using a larger screen is potentially bigger than a small get together of frinds and family to watch the game in a private residence. Because it is a larger group the NFL and the programmer can be compensated for allowing the use of their copyrighted material. It is simple mathmatics.

    On a side note the NFL, and the MPAA, recently went to battle with TiVo for copyright infringement of sorts. Because the FCC's new broadcast flag requirements did not mandate any particular ant-file-sharing schemes it is posible for consumers to send real-time digital recordings over the internet. The NFL was upset because local football games are only aired locally after a game is sold out, otherwise they have the blackout rule in effect. Their afraid that places like Buffalo with open air stadiums and bad winter weather will potentially lose ticket sales because with the file sharing the blackout rule cannot be enforced.
     

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