A lesson for vloggers, Part 2

THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco - The Philippine Star

In broadcast news, minutes matter. Whoever breaks a story first gets the scoop and has the right to call it an exclusive. This is what builds credibility for any news organization. What’s even more powerful is having exclusive access to a major news source. That is usually the product of trust or friendship built over years. However, not everything is fair game. And in the case of rights ownership to live sporting events and tournaments, the network which paid for the rights can hoard all the news attendant to the event as well as the actual event coverage itself. No one else can show the event, game, match or tournament in its entirety. Violating those rights may be grounds for charges to be filed.

Just to summarize, in Saturday’s column, The STAR reported that a few weeks ago, a vlogger recorded an important boxing championship even after being forbidden to. He then uploaded it onto his YouTube channel, preempting the official broadcast of the event and costing the organizers money, He supposedly apologized and took down the bootleg video, which had gotten over a million views.

But there are actually important components to a proper apology. First, the offending party must sincerely acknowledge fault and apologize to the offended. Secondly, he must promise not to repeat the behavior. Lastly, he must offer to make reasonable restitution. The catch is that the aggrieved party has the choice whether or not to accept the apology. Unfortunately, in that true-to-life case this writer exposed last Saturday, not all of those conditions were met. Worse, the vlogger has apparently persisted with this behavior for a while now.

“That guy’s really hard-headed. He tried to pull off a similar stunt during one of our boxing cards,” revealed the former producer for a local sports broadcasting network. “We said no. The only difference in our case was that the card aired live, so he had no leverage.”

On top of this unrepentant and unprofessional behavior, the offender is now telling the aggrieved party to “move on”as if it were merely a petty squabble, a poor attempt to avoid culpability. What he may not know is that the offended parties have a full seven years within the statute of limitations to file cases against him. As one retired professor who is also a sportscaster commented, this would be a good case for a media law class. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident, either, but is quite rampant in the Philippines.

“I attempted last year to launch my YouTube channel, but just minutes after it (exclusive Pacquiao interview) was posted, so many copied (local and overseas vloggers) the interview and they passed it off as theirs,” revealed long-time boxing print journalist Nick Giongco, who has been covering Manny Pacquiao for roughly two decades. “Many boxing vloggers are actually just fanboys.“

“There should be freedom on the ingenuity of artists, media practitioners, and “content creators,” but the output of their creativeness through “hard work” should never be at the expense of stirring up nuisance,” adds combat sports journalist and TV producer Nissi Icasiano.

There are dozens of purported content creators who get millions of views with stolen and rehashed boxing and mixed martial arts content, probably more. It’s time that the Nation Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Crime Unit and other authorities clamp down on them to protect true creators and journalists. It’s gone on too long and caused too much harm to people’s livelihoods already.

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