Internet Table Tennis fans around the world are absolutely conscious that the main distribution form for Table Tennis videos is Youtube. For many of them (us), there's simply no other way to keep in touch with their favorite sport as local TV channels simply don't broadcast Table Tennis matches on places like Latinamerica and others, and at the same time the biggest TV sports chains never give good enough coverage to TT events.
So it was natural for TT fans to start exchanging videos once they got the tools. First it was Napster or other p2p networks, later it was Youtube. And the high numbers of views on many of those shared TT videos demonstrated there was a really big audience, eager to consume that material.
And until now everything went fine. It even could have been considered as good since it was a free way to market Table Tennis to outsiders who were just browsing around on Youtube...
But yesterday, Reflex Sports, the company behind some well known Table Tennis videos, took actions to make Youtube put down some channels like TableTennisDaily or individual videos from the ttprovider account, claiming copyright infringement.
In their About Us page, Reflex sports says:
Reflex Sports first obtained the exclusive video rights to the 39th WTTC in India" [...]
Tabletennisvideos.com [by Reflex Sports] has been granted worldwide rights by the International Table Tennis Federation to produce DVDs covering World Championship events through 2009 and expects to continue to serve the table tennis world for many years thereafter.
Therefore the problem basically is that they claim exclusive rights to record videos about World Table Tennis Championships. Rights that, they believe, can be extended to prevent third parties to record WTTC videos even from a different producer like ITTV by the ITTF.
So it seems TT fans around the world will still be able to watch Table Tennis videos on Youtube as long as they are not about WTTC (or prior work from Reflex Sports). But the discussion is set: Does Reflex Sports have the rights to fight against independent video sharers getting their material from other sources? What about the claim done by ttprovider on his Facebook page, about having permission by TMS and ITTF to post those videos online? Who's right?
Media producers companies fighting individuals producing content that directly threats their business is not a new issue. And invariably it seems that no matter what those companies do, they just can't beat the people who does something very similar to their products but for free. So, do you think it makes sense for Reflex Sports to prosecute those video sharers or instead they can take a look at all the years of fighting between the people and Music labels, learn a lesson or two from the mistakes by those companies and work to find a potentially better solution both for them and the people? Share your opinion in the comments!