An April Fool’s joke posted on a blog appears to have back-fired on social networking sports service FootyTweets after it had claimed to have been bought out by BSkyB, but has now received a “cease and desist” order from Football DataCo .
FootyTweets was launched in February, together with CricketTweets and RugbyTweets, by web developer Ollie Parsley.
On April 1, Parsley wrote on his blog that his outfit had been taken over by BSkyB, the Murdoch-owned Premier League TV rights holders. But it now appears that this web article brought FootyTweets to the attention of Football DataCo, the company which acts as a copyright watchdog for the FA Premier League, Football League, Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League.
A Football DataCo official has admitted to trade website journalism.co.uk that they believed that FootyTweets had been bought by BSkyB – demonstrating “the way in which supposed ‘not-for-profit’ fansites and their operators use league content for free to build their profiles and readerships, then either become purely commercial operations or sell themselves to commercial enterprises”.
FootyTweets was making unlicensed use of club logos and match updates.
“We wish to make you aware that we have a good faith belief that your present use is an infringement of the Leagues’ legal rights and that all such unauthorised use must cease immediately,” Philip Stubbs, from NetResult, informed Parsley in the email.
A licence for the use of such data from all the leagues would cost Â£15,854 per season.
Parsley, an independent web developer who runs the sport Twitter services as a part-time hobby, believes that he has not detracted attention from the league teams: “Many followers of FootyTweets’ Twitter accounts have contacted me and said that they have visited their team’s official website a lot more than before they followed the account.
“The big companies and clubs need to see these benefits of getting news and match updates into the wide world of microblogging and social networking as it clearly adds another ways to distribute their content and engage with their fans,” Parsley told Journalism.co.uk.
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