Monday, September 03, 2007

Is a swimming pool or a football stadium a public place?

On September 6th of last year, the NFL decided that it owned all the filming rights to a football game from grass to stands. This pissed of a guy named David Rehr, the head of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) since local broadcast stations would put their talking heads on the sidelines and film some of the plays for production value. The NFL rule changed all of that meaning broadcasters had to pay the NFL 'mad bank' to show a play.

So the NAB said, "We will so take you to court over this." This was was one of the arguments they were going to go with:

"... Many NFL stadiums are taxpayer funded, the ban may run afoul of laws requiring reasonable and equal access at otherwise public forums.”

This was the point of view of The Progress and Freedom Foundation Blog:

"... Let’s unpack that argument a bit and do it in reverse order. First, is an NFL stadium a “public forum” [Or is a swimming pool?], as the broadcasters suggest? If so, then the NAB certainly has a strong case because our legal system provides clear First Amendment protections for individuals who want to speak in, or report from, areas that are considered public forums, such as public parks, town squares, and government buildings. [Link]

They went on to say that this particular argument was anemic since the NFL stadiums were generally not public places. However, in my opinion some local pools or aquatics centers are. Hence, cameras summarily could and should be allowed when the location was created entirely of public funds. Caveat though , if a college built a stadium or a pool, the venue is considered private property and rights can be sold.

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