Friday, February 09, 2007

Regs Nix H.S. Sports Pix Sales

OK, it's not exactly as good as the old Variety hed (Hicks Nix Sticks Pix), but you get the idea ...

I've been spending a lot of time lately plugging into a crop of newspaper video blogs and mailing lists, and with every publisher and his brother, it seems, starting to fall in love with the movin' picture shows for their Web sites, some new issues are arising.

One of them is popping up in Wisconsin, where the high school athletic association has created a "Whoa, Hoss" moment for papers that want to shoot stills and video and then sell prints to mamma, poppa and all the assorted relatives.

Seems the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association has contracts with two independent companies to shoot the state tournaments. So, as the association's spokesman says, you can take photos for editorial use, but as far as selling them, no way -- unless, of course, you pay a $100 licensing fee.

The newspaper industry's response, according to the AP? Thwwwpttttttttt!
(The WNPA online blog has links to a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, too.)

Expect more of this. The NFL and the other pro leagues started it, colleges picked it up, and why wouldn't the little fry at the high school level want their cut of the action, too? Of course, this raises some major questions, like these are PUBLIC schools. But many state-supported colleges have managed to corral the marketing bull and put news media in their place, so that argument might not carry too far.

In an era when the mantra for news operations is sell anything and everyting you can get your hands on (Ma -- keep an eye on the kids!) , these kinds of issues are going to rise more and more often. Face it, we've beeome a society where much of what is deemed "interesting" is not public anymore but has been deeded into private hands -- hands that have a lot better marketing savvy than newspapers that got fat and sassy. Publishers, editors, reporters and photographers can stamp their feet and cry all they want -- pay to play is the new name of the game just at a time when papers, with their deteriorating economoics, have less "pay" to play.

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